These past two decades, Gary Richards has done some serious wanking for the BART-San Jose project. It’s tough narrowing down his most idiotic BART wankage, but this Q&A gets to the heart of the matter:
Q We could have Caltrain running from Fremont to San Jose within six months and for pennies on the dollar of what it would cost to ring in BART. Caltrain ran trials on this route back in 1995, and I can take my bike on Caltrain. To hell with BART and their blasted tax.
Bring on Caltrain.
A There was a plan in place in 1996 to run Caltrain-style trains from the BART station in Union City to downtown San Jose. But those efforts died for a couple of reasons. Residents living along the proposed route did not want this type of service, fearing for pedestrian safety and train crashes at intersections, problems that have plagued Caltrain on the Peninsula. Then, as the dot-com boom began and traffic on I-680 and I-880 became horrible, the call to bring BART to San Jose took off, resulting in nearly 71 percent of voters approving the Measure A tax plan in 2000. However, that half-cent tax is not enough to build BART and other transit improvements promised voters in that election.
In fact, the 1996 voter-approved plan was for modern European DMU’s running on conventional track. At $100 million, it was a bargain — and would have paved the way for future HSR service. Instead, VTA brainiacs decided to convert to BART gauge, increasing costs 100 fold and delaying rail service by decades.