BART: The Sequel

I thought that arenas and baseball stadiums brought out the most dramatic, intense, and even incendiary discussions, but I stand corrected—for now. It seems that currently in our valley, the mention of BART is enough to send many normally sane blokes to the ramparts, girded for battle.

The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will vote Thursday to put a new sales tax measure on the ballot. It will be one of a score of measures—state, city and county—that will be on a very crowded ballot and one of presidential importance. 

Much of the impetus and a good deal of the muscle to get this transit measure on the ballot (and BART done) is contained in the person of Carl Guardino, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG)—the most prestigious gathering of companies in the state, perhaps the planet.  Guardino is not one to say “been there, done that.”  He has had this role before and his batting average of success is higher than anyone on the A’s or Giants.

It is clear, I believe, that without more monies from the local source that no more federal money will be forthcoming and, hence, no BART. It is not an outcome that a can-do valley takes lightly.

So on with the future. Let’s do it. It’s time to get the nonsense of the “secret poll” and all the supposed clandestine activity questions into the proper perspective. While we’re at it, let’s get Mr. Guardino and the SVLG in perspective too. It’s not a big deal. Honest. Guardino has pushed and pushed hard, and in a valley where public leaders with backbones are scarce, almost non-existent, what’s wrong with some prodding and pushing? And looking ahead, what’s wrong with this dimension of leadership?

The issues should be joined and stated clearly, fought fairly and resolved with no smoke screens. Do we in this valley want BART to be a part of our future? Will the VTA assure the many neighborhoods and small businesses in the path of this progress that they will not be sacrificed needlessly or even for a reason? Is it certain that the VTA can pull this off with the money they have.

I have always had grave reservations about the VTA’s competence, accountability, and its clarity of action. Yet, on the question of building a vital transportation link that will allow San Jose and this valley to compete and hopefully prosper in an ever-changing and challenging world, we must be willing to reach for that future. It is imperative that all who wish to lead this effort do it with the most honest and straightforward actions. That has not always been the case with mass transit in this valley, but to succeed, this measure must fully comply with that simple direction.


  1. Tom,
      Given two choices on the ballot which one would the voters in San Jose and Santa Clara County vote for?
      (1)BART to Sam Jose from Warm Springs (2)An overhead high speed rail along Interstate 280 with a minimum number of stops (3) an Overhead high speed rail along Hwy 101 from Morgan Hill to Mt View with a minimum number of stops.
      How do you you think the voters would vote, #1,#2,#3, in which order?

  2. The question about overhead rail would depend on the comparative cost, I would think. Is there any information available?

    I don’t know that freeways are the best place to put overhead rail, aside from the availability of right of way. Our freeways are not located close to any major destinations.

    A successful public transportation system is made up of pieces that connect together to form a whole. This is a concept that seems to be missing here.

    Perhaps a good start for overhead rail would be to fill in the missing links between Caltrain, light rail and the airport.

  3. Jim – the other two options are intriguing and I have to admit have much appeal. I can think of at least one near ideal scenario.  But is the perfect to be the enemy of the good? As difficult as the BART line as configured may be, it has a chance of implementation. Isn’t that the real question?  TMcE

  4. Tom McE wrote:”  But is the perfect to be the enemy of the good?”  BOY, there’s an expression I’m already tired of, yet we’re bound to hear it for the rest of the Obama campaign.

    Aside:  go watch Swing Vote—it rips the media and presidential politics to shreds.  A worthwhile Costner film, what an anomaly.

    That said (another tired expression), what’s so good about a hugely expensive BART system, with rail guages that link to nothing else in the known world, coming to Downtown (hah!) San Jose?  This is no destination.  The jobs are elsewhere in SC County.  The chosen route makes as little sense as the slow trolleys through the “Transit Mall”.

    And VTA as a money/transit manager—gimme a break!

    Carl and his minions are just out chasing Fed. $$ to keep this pipe dream alive.  If the Feds just said NO, all this nonsense would go away.

    Where can I get a NO ON BART sign?

  5. I agree with Tom.

    I, personally, favor being beamed to my destination of choice.  But that isn’t an option—neither is an above grade rail system along 280—which would be efficient only for people in San Jose and possibly Sand Hill Road.

  6. Tom asks: “As difficult as the BART line as configured may be, it has a chance of implementation. Isn’t that the real question?”

    If it is, the answer’s a big “no.” If we spend $6.1 billion, plus cost overruns, on a poorly routed system, we waste a chance to build something that might go where the jobs are and actually serve people. Let’s not just build the BART extension “because we can” without looking at whether it will give us the best bang for our 6+ billion dollars.

  7. There is the world that works and the world that fails. VTA lives in the world that fails. Just like the Folly Trolley the San Jose Subway will fail to relieve congestion, will fail to lower the price of gas, and will fail to save the environment. VTA has already failed to find enough money to fulfill Measure “A” promises and operate what it has now. The VTA is an ever growing taxpayer sink hole.  Avoid the hole, Vote NO on the Subway Tax.

    Doug McNea
    President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers’ Association

  8. JMOC,
    Perhaps the lamest argument against BART is the track gauge…“it links with nothing else in the world.”  Seriously, do we really want freight trains or light rail sharing BART tracks?  I think not!  All the great metro’s of the world (including BART in the great Bay Area) do fine operating on dedicated tracks.  Again all, we must think of the future when it comes to this November:  Prop. 1/High-Speed Rail and BART.  With Prop.1’s passage, we get high-speed rail from Gilroy to Palo Alto, as well as a completely overhauled/electrified Caltrain (grade-separations and fencing!).  With the BART 1/8 sales tax hike (is it really asking that much?) we get BART from the East Bay into Downtown San Jose/Santa Clara, where it will connect via intermodal station to HSR/Caltrain.  Talk about curing our traffic woes from Palo Alto, Milpitas, and Gilroy!  The future of San Jose and our great valley is possible this November…hopefully the naysayers and small-town thinkers don’t screw it up.  Yes to BART and High-Speed Rail/Caltrain!

  9. #9 No one is arguing that BART to San Jose is going to relieve congestion or lower the price of gas.  BART to San Jose is part of the transportation infrastructure thats going to be needed for our growing population.

    Seriously though representing a “taxpayers association” isn’t any kind of badge of honor.  Every single person in the county/state/country is a taxpayer.  Does it mean that you pay more taxes than others so you should have some special representation in government?  Does being part of a “taxpayers association” mean you pay taxes on the full value of your property?  Or do you believe in passing that responsibility off to someone else (prop 13)?

  10. Oh, and who’s going to actually build BART—the same folks that have been working on the Bay Bridge since The Loma Prieta Quake?

    Greg # 8—how many bus transfers will I have to make to get the sign?  Heck, maybe I’ll just drive.

    Tom #13—Gee, another thing we can disagree on.It showed without ranting how low politicians will go for a single vote, and how much the press is like a school of piranhas attacking a bleeding cow in the water.

  11. #11 Tony D,
      Your problem is you believe everything your cousin Carl G tells you. You need to develop your own mind, because, you only hurt Carl Gardino going on as you are.
      Carl is having enough of a time getting people believing in his opinion.The truth be told,Carl is a lobbyest with a lot of $$$,he sells fear to politicians, weak politicians.

  12. John #16

    I have not yet seen “Swing Vote” but I suspect that normal people will like it and politicians [and ex-politicians] will hate it because it probably hits too close to home.

  13. If we’re so deadset on spending this money, let’s build standard gauge tracks and use the rest for subsidies to move SV companies to downtown. Then we get the best of both worlds: better transit and more reasons to use it.

  14. Tom:

    In your first post you raised questions about the secret poll.  Now, you approve.  How come?

    Do you now also approve of the card rooms doing a poll to convince the city council to expand gambling in our town?

  15. Tom #13:  My mistakes and misperceptions are legion, eh?

    Let’s see—you and Frank Taylor, and thereafter Susans Hammer & Schick & who knows who else, have spent BILLIONS through the RDA to make a moribund Downtown San Jose a destination.  And it ain’t one yet, and won’t be in the lifetimes of our grandchildren, if ever.

    You championed a Downtown Transit Mall Trolley that moves at a snails pace through the STILL moribund downtown and that has the lowest fare box to actual cost ratio in the civilized world, and the ridership projections were off by at least ten years.

    Now you want BART to downtown SJ, still a non-destination for all but thugs, hip hop gangtas, and other miscreants.

    And MY mistakes are legion???

    Oh, but you were right about the Shark Tank.

  16. JMO said ” Oh, but you were right about the Shark Tank. ” 

    Being right is not enough.  Are insiders making 7-10 million extra year from sweetheart Shark tank deal while San Jose needing money for city services and who paid for building, parking and millions more year is not getting market rate rents

    Mountain View gets $45,000 per Shoreline event ( $1.800.000 – 40 events ) while San Jose gets $8421 for Arena events ( $1,600,000 – 190 events )

  17. JMO,

    Gosh, you brought back such wonderful memories regarding the RDA.  I recall when Frank Taylor was in the catbird seat.  That guy wouldn’t permit a ten year old kid to open up a lemonade stand unless it was in Downtown!

    I, for one, would like to see RDAs statewide legislated out of existence.  North Valley really was a treasure trove but, to my chagrin, we’ve gotten little more from that treasure than our Downtown area. 

    Why we continue to pour so much money down there is beyond me… it is what it is.  I’ve long believed that our politicians have major self-esteem issues.

  18. John Michael –  your mistakes and misperceptions are legion, but I did not know what lengths your comments would go to until you recommended the movie, “Swing Vote” – although a nice premise, it was flickering ambien to anyone but the most desperate. Please stay in court and out of afternoon movies. TMcE

  19. Greg and John Michael and Hugh and all the anonymous characters left from the Cindy Chavez campaign & Gonzales era –  Well, well …  I seem to have smoked all of you out with a comment on the movie, “Swing Vote”  –  amazing. Now just look at the Downtown that was destroyed by a lot of insiders and quick buck types and this abomination was as close to a sin as you can get in our city – neighborhoods ruined, small businesses wipe out – a great disgrace. Oh, and Frank Taylor is a giant in the history of the city, and like Teddy Roosevelt, not afraid to be “IN THE ARENA.” We can continue this one later boys, but you’re on weak ground.  TMcE

  20. Guys Please,
    We all should want a better SJ downtown that is well connected to greater Silicon Valley.

    The question at hand is whether a San Jose Subway hurts or helps achieve that.

    I say it is bad for San Jose because:
    1.  It is the wrong route to support widespread usage (like bringing North Valley workers to the arean and downtown.)
    2. It steals funds from all the needed support transit (and will make the county have to cut other social services to make up the difference).
    3.  And it prevents San Jose from leading in modern transit development (with exportable products)

    Mayor Tom, for the good of San Jose, please suggest reopening the Major Investment Study.  The transit advocacy groups do have a better (and intentionally overlooked) answer that will not require additional tax.

    Then in 15 years we can have electrified modern rail from Gilroy to SF, SJ to Pleasanton, and an airport station one stop from the heart of jobs and one stop to Downtown.  All connected to BART at Milbrae and Fremont.  Everyone wants that.

  21. John – I just tell the facts, the way it really happened, warts and all, and others can judge as you just did. Historians will see it closer to my view than yours, I believe.  Thanks for the input,

  22. Rich –

    Have you even been to China? I realize you stepped back a tad saying you do not support the Chinese-way, but ending your post by suggesting that their process of getting things done makes them the “best” is almost funny if I didn’t think you were serious. I’ve had the “pleasure” of working with the Chinese government on multiple occasions and let me tell you they are as rife with innefficiency and corruption as anything you would get here, and then some.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you that our system here sucks too. The US political system has gone so far to the other end of the scale that you need to hold a committee meeting to decide which toilet paper you are going to use to wipe your own rear-end, and then you need to hold a press conference afterwards to defend your decision. But I guess that is the price we pay for the right to not have bad ideas/projects jammed down our throats without the opportunity to voice opposition. 

    On the subject of bad ideas….the current BART to San Jose proposal and tax is not the “most agreeable solution” as you suggest above. The most recent vote for BART was 2006, and that was an overwhelming loser, despite the “best” efforts of Carl Guardino and his private poll that suggested it was a winner from the start.(sound familiar?) It might be the most agreeable to you, but fortunately, as you suggested in an earlier post, this is not a dictatorship and you are not in control of it. (if that were the case, I might actually be convinced to move to China…;-)

  23. I agree with Mark Gregory. It’s an insult to the voters that Carl and VTA did not heed the results of the 2000 measure A vote and re-think the BART project. Why should we reward their contempt with a “yes” vote this time around?

  24. Once again the claim that almost 100,000 riders would ride BART daily clinches the vote to put the 1/8% tax increase on the ballot. Who are these phantom passengers who would be willing to drive to a BART station, park, wait for a train, and manage to get to work once reaching their stop? How about an informal poll? Question for those of you who support BART: Would you take it to work?

  25. Rich-  The voters spoke in 2006, and their will wasn’t done.  VTA took their money, and kept spending it as though nothing had changed.  They’re still spending now.

  26. 27 – Don’t confuse 26. He’s having enough trouble deciding if he wants to live here or in China where it’s the “best”.

  27. Hugh,

    Not to worry… the BART to SJ measure will suffer an embarrassing defeat.  Carl will then understand that undisclosed poll results, dysfunctional accounting methods and lots of smoke and mirrors won’t sell in our fair valley any longer.

  28. The BART Union has the most expensive benefit package system among transportation unions, much higher than VTA. when VTA joins BART, VTA employees are gping to want the same benefit package. That cost needs to be factored into cost over-runs.

  29. The real problem here is the democratization of our transportation systems.

    In China, process would be shoved aside and Caltrain tracks would be replaced by BART, it would be done record time—the Fremont to San Jose project would be completed, tunnel and all.  If a few businesses went belly up—so what—the greater good would be served.

    The Government would claim an amazing achievement, dissenters would be sent to live in Texas or some other inhospitable place—possibly Fresno.

    We might have a bullet train from SF to San Jose to LA.  Red legged frogs and butterflies not even mentioned in the grand achievement made for the public good.

    But, alas, we live in the United States.  We have 38 transportation agencies in the Bay Area alone, we must respect bow to the wishes of the Feds, the State, regional bodies made up of transient politicians, we must go through the Environmental Impact Reports, we must pay homage to the NIMBY, we must respect the butterfly and the frog, we must have an open and fair bidding process (no matter how much it costs). 

    Most of all, we must hold open meetings where everyone is free to opine that the real answer lies in their own little head.
    Then we must vote on a measure that has enough give away to please two-thirds of the masses.  It must not cost too much and once passed it must be honored regardless of future circumstances.

    Once the voters speak—their will be done.  They may have voted for BART, but if it included bus service and expanded freeways—they must be provided and built.

    Now before I get the expected flurry of reasons we live “in the best country in the world”.  Let me say I don’t advocate the Chinese system.

    But that does not make the flaws in our system right. 

    The reason we have BART to San Jose is that it was the most agreeable solution.  You want the best move to China.

  30. Here’s another annoyance about Thursday’s VTA board vote for the BART tax. Why didn’t VTA discuss the proposed BART tax with its advisory or standing committees? The recent state audit [ ] stated, “To demonstrate that it values the expertise of its advisory committees, VTA and its board should take actions to ensure that advisory committees are involved in the development of policy solutions. Such actions should include the following: [snip] Reviewing work plans for advisory committees to ensure the committees have an opportunity to review and provide input on issues in the early stages of development.”

    In the case for the BART tax, this was not done. VTA staff took the tax proposal directly to the board “At the request of a coalition of business, labor, environmental, academic and civic leaders…” [see ] As far as I know, the advisory committees were shut out of the loop.

    If a coalition of common citizen-taxpayers wanted to address the board, they’d be given a brief 2 minutes each, then their input would be ignored by the BOD, which would do what it wants. Why does Carl and his buddies get to bypass the process, and why isn’t the media up in arms about this travesty?

  31. #36 Hugh,

    You state the situation very clearly.
    Why DO Carl and his buddies get a pass?
    The only logical explanation that comes to mind is that there are a lot of special interests who stand to make a killing if Carl gets HIS way who WON’T make a killing if we the PEOPLE get OUR way.

    This is the pathetic system that passes itself off as “democracy” these days.

  32. Mac #31:  Did someone actually project 100,000 riders of the BART extension? BY when? If so, let’s make them put their money where their mouths are—if their prediction becomes reality, they get a HUGE bonus; if it does not, they pay a HUGE penalty toward operation costs,i.e., they make up the shortfall in revenue.  I’d bet then that you’d get a more accurate projection.

    We need to put the feet of these bought-and-paid-for idiots to the fire.  Only then will we get realistic projections.

  33. Tony D –

    Your slogan might make more sense if the 1/8th tax proposed for BART to SJ actually covered the full operating expenses. The VTA and Carl, in their infinite wisdom, have not only gone to the voter well for a sales tax to pay for this loser twice before, but they have done so now in an apparently half-baked and reckless manner.

    If history (and basic math skills) are any indication, your slogan should read more like this: “A dime a day MAY bring BART all the way to San Jose someday, possibly, if we realize we can’t count and decide to charge you another cent or two per day later on down the road to fully cover this boondoggle AND haven’t totally FUBARed the funds already provided to us by then.”“

    Might not sound as catchy as your original version, but it is certainly more accurate. Either Carl and the VTA can’t count, or they have some pull with the money fairy that will magically rain down and additional $6-$7 million per year. Must be nice living in fantasy land…

  34. 39 – It must be quite a world in your wonderland. A few cents here, a few cents there, for most of us that starts adding up to real money. And now you want us to pay more for something we are already paying for and have yet to reap the advantages of and probably never will.
    So, continue your dream of these few cents a day paying for BART. It will not happen. There will be future requests for taxes and many of will be long dead before a BART train ever rolls through our town.
    But I gotta go now, I’m late, I’m late…

  35. Tony D just doesn’t get it.

    1. BART is too expensive, now estimated to cost 6.1 billion, plus operating expense, plus cost overruns.

    2. The proposed sales tax isn’t enough. VTA will have to come back to the voters for another tax in the future.

    3. The proposed BART route is poorly defined, missing Santa Clara County’s employment centers and containing too much expensive tunneling in San Jose. Bay Rail’s Caltrain Metro East proposal makes more sense, even if you built BART technology on the CME alignment.

    4. The VTA Board rammed this tax increase onto the ballot sidestepping its own advisory committees despite the findings of a recent state audit. VTA Watch writes: “In addition, this proposal has not been discussed in any of the VTA standing or advisory committees prior to next week’s VTA Board meeting. While it is obvious that Carl Guardino does not want any public participation in the drafting of this tax measure, it is something that the state auditors recommend: ‘Reviewing work plans for advisory committees to ensure the committees have an opportunity to review and provide input on issues in the early stages of development.’”

    This BART tax is a turkey on principle. Vote “no” and force VTA to come back with an affordable plan that serves the job centers.

  36. Hey all you BART naysayers…repeat after me!:  Just $3 extra per month to finally get BART down to San Jose/Santa Clara!  That’s how much the “MASSIVE” 1/8 cent sales tax hike would hit your wallet (based on today’s Merc article).  Here’s an excellent slogan for Novembers 1/8 sales tax hike for BART to SJ:  “A dime a day to bring BART all the way into San Jose!”  Like the sound of that.

  37. HJ#42,
    By “affordable plan,” do you mean running diesel Caltrain-style commuters up to Alameda County?  Or someone else’s “brilliant” idea to run light-rail on existing freight lines?  Yes, there are cheaper options than BART, but then again, a Yugo is far cheaper than a BMW…my point?  Sometimes you get what you pay for, and quality rapid-transit (fast, reliable, grade-separated) comes with a price.  By the way HJ, you quote the Bay Rail Alliance.  They are no longer a legitimate transit advocacy group because they’ve filed a lawsuit to force the proposed high-speed rail line over the Altamont Pass (vs. the chosen Pacheco Pass route).  What a bunch of whining baby’s!  “We didn’t get the route we wanted, so let’s file a lawsuit.”  Good grief!

  38. Tony, if you had bothered to actually read the Caltrain Metro East proposal, you’d realize that it advocates electrified, Caltrain-compatible trains that could potentially be used by Capitol and ACE services. Ever hear of dual mode locomotives? They are used back East, why not here? The CME does not advocate diesel trains as you state. Since you obviously missed it, see this page:

    Dual mode locomotives that could extend service beyond electrified tracks are what we need in the Bay Area:

    Of course, Caltrain will never be electrified if we continue building overpriced BART extensions. It’s too bad you can’t grasp this elemental concept.

    And you can’t dismiss Bay Rail Alliance just because they’re participating in the CAHSR lawsuit. The CAHSR system is a good concept that has been hijacked by the political process. The following parties brought the lawsuit:

    Planning and Conservation League
    Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund
    California Rail Foundation
    Bay Rail Alliance
    Town of Atherton
    City of Menlo Park

    There are many reasons to oppose the current system, one is that with the Pacheco Pass route, a potential future extension to Sacramento will require more track and money than if the Altamont route was used. See:

    Also, the Bakersfield-LA route is very convoluted. Instead of going via Palmdale and Lancaster, they should follow I5 via the Grapevine.

    The critics of these expensive projects have valid points. Despite your wishes, they won’t shut up because you disagree with them.

  39. Too all these people that like to complain about detractors. Let’s see whether spending a billion or so really helps.

    Consider the case of taking Caltrain to San Francisco Airport:

    Before 2003 – Take Caltrain to Millbrae, transfer to a free shuttle stopping at all airline terminals.

    Today – Take Caltrain to Millbrae. Pay $1.50 on BART. Take BART to San Bruno. Transfer to another BART train to SFO. At SFO station, walk or transfer to Airtrain if you’re going to domestic terminals.

    Perhaps you never plan to take transit yourself, but transit riders who got screwed have very little confidence of those like Carl Guardino, who think they know better. Back then, supporters of BART to SFO promised free transfer and all that. All of those promises have never been fulfilled.

  40. I agree that the BART/Caltrain connection at millbrae blows for pax going to SFO. If you life south of Belmont, the best thing to do is use a combination of Caltrain and the SamTrans KX express bus. That same $1.50 you’d pay to BART gets you on a comfortable bus which goes direct to all of the airport terminals.

  41. 3 VTA Ballot Measures – B, C and D

    2/3 Vote

    B To reduce dependence on foreign oil, help relieve soaring gas prices and combat climate change, shall the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority enact a 1/8 cent sales tax limited to thirty years for BART to operate/ maintain/ improve the 16.1 mile Santa Clara County BART extension, with
    stations in Milpitas, San Jose, and Santa Clara, connecting with Caltrain from Gilroy to San Francisco and an Airport People Mover, to be collected only if sufficient state/federal funds are secured to match local construction dollars?


    C Shall the Santa Clara Valley transportation Authority continue to plan, design, construct and provide transit services as described in the draft Valley Transportation Plan 2035 (VTP 2035) to be

    NO – BART is VTP 2035 highest priority and if voters say Yes – Carl Guardino will say BART voters confirmed that BART is VTA highest priority even if BART tax is not approved

    D Shall the following ordinance be enacted?
    The ordinance adopted by the people of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority on March 2, 1976 (Measure B) and amended by the voters at the November 6, 1990 election, shall be further amended to read as follows: “It shall be the policy of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to submit to the 2000 Measure A Citizen’s Watchdog Committee every 6 years a comprehensive
    transit program for review and comment.”

    NO – Currently 50% Measure taxes go to BART without Watchdog Annual Report more taxes will go to BART and other projects will be cut

  42. Ballot vote for 1/8 cent sales tax increase to be used for BART, question,” WILL THIS BE THE LAST BART TAX”? Will there be more BART taxes and BART Bonds requested from the voters?


  43. #43 The “whining baby” concept exists just as much with BART detractors as with High Speed Rail detractors.  They would be much happier having no transportation link than having BART.  Some will try and argue that there are other cheaper options, somehow thinking that the general public thinks their “Citizen’s Proposal” of “Caltrain Metro East” actually has a chance of being built.

    It is this “whining baby” attitude that has resulted in the massive infrastructure deficit we are faced with.  Yes, its going to be expensive catching up, thats what happens when you spend 50 years whining instead of building.

  44. Richard Zappelli and others have pointed out that the proposed 1/8 cent sales tax increase won’t provide all of the money that VTA requires to build BART. They’ll be back hat in hand in a couple of years asking for more and the argument will be “we’ve already spent $$$, we can’t stop now!”

    Let’s put an end to this. Vote “no” and make VTA come back with a plan that can be built with the existing tax revenue. VTA should live within their means, like private citizens do.

  45. Tony D –

    Is the fact that you don’t answer reasonable questions mean you are incapable of doing so, or because you know the answer doesn’t support your case?  Some of us have repeatedly asked any BART supporter on this blog to clearly explain why we should support a sales tax increase proposal that does not fully cover the annual operating expenses for BART to SJ.  In reply, you say “Cmon people, just a dime extra a day…”

    Let me outline it out for you so you can grasp the concept of basic math.

    1:  Revenue estimates for the 1/8 sales tax increase project approximately $43-$44 million annually. 

    2:  BART to San Jose operational costs are projected to be $50 million annually.

    3:  Subtract $44 Million from $50 Million and my math comes out to a $6 Million shortfall.  Did you come up with a different number?  If so, I strongly encourage Jack to allow you your own guest blog to describe how the public elementary school system has failed you.

    If BART is really the greatest thing since sliced bread for the region, why are you and the other proponents afraid to answer real questions?  How about just these two for now:

    1: Where does VTA plan to get the $6 million per year?

    2: Why should anyone in SC County believe VTA will not mismanage the funds entrusted to them for BART this time around?

    Thank you in advance for ducking the question(s) once again.

  46. Cmon people!  Just a DIME extra a day to get BART to SJ!  Talk about obstructionism and lack of vision!  And speaking of such HJ #45, those 6 organizations/municipalities that have filed a lawsuit only represent themselves, not the majority of HSR supporters (see today’s Wall Street Journal poll of 62% in favor).  The Bay Area/Central Valley EIR’s have been completed, studied, re-studied ad nauseum, and Pacheco Pass was chosen…get over it!  And if you knew anything about HSR, you would realize that a high-speed commuter overlay is proposed in the Altamont corridor…what the hell is wrong with that?!!  Pacheco Pass mainline with HS Altamont overlay.  You would also realize that passage of the HSR bond will help electrify/upgrade Caltrain from SF to Gilroy.  Boy Mr. McEnery, we need more visionary’s like yourself, Rich Robinson, and R.C. Mongler in WG.

  47. Where will the county come up with the $6 million shortfall?  For starters, I still see a lot of empty buses driving around, and LRT vehicles empty after 7pm/on weekends.  In short, a lot of pork to cut out from current VTA service to ensure quality rapid transit for our county.  Look, I think BART is an excellent system that is needed for our valley’s future; again, we need to think long term.  Others, including many on this blog, despise BART and would rather use cost-effective (ie cheap) alternatives.  I just think our valley/SJ deserves the best, and to me and other that’s BART.  You don’t like BART or a 1/8 cent tax increase, then vote against it in November…end of discussions.

  48. Maybe the “D” in Tony D. stands for “duck” because that’s what he did with Mark G’s questions.
    Apparently there is no chance for a rational discussion with the “BART at any cost” group and those who think this is a project that cannot be afforded.

  49. I just found this e-mail in my inbox. I wonder if anyone else has gotten something similar?;

    Most Esteemed Santa Clara County Voter,

    Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mbaike Ngorongoro Guardino IV. I am an agent acting on behalf of my patrons, a group comprised of many esteemed personages including Mr. Matumbo McEnery who descends from a glorious line dating back to the great Mnorman Nmineta. I am most humbly and respectfully requesting your assistance in a matter that may be of some mutual fiduciary beneficience. Please indulge me in your kind patients as I explain to you the situation. We are eager to show to the rest of the world that our kingdom is a world class kingdom comparable in importance to the great kingdoms of LALand and SFLand.
    Several years ago my benefactors, through some very clever dealings called Measure A, were able to begin acquiring a considerable stream of revenue with which it was their desire to provide the people with a transportation system that would be the envy of the world. These funds have now grown to a generous amount (USD $8,000,000,000) and a prosperous community called VTA has grown and flourished. Due to a temporary problem of liquidity, the magnificent transportation system has not yet lived up to it’s promise but there is at present, a new opportunity for my patrons’ dreams to be realized. All that is required is access to your bank account. Please sir, or madam, whichever the case may be. It is essencial that you take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Please try to persuade your friends and neighbors too unless they know anything about math or history. Avoid these people. They are often what my people call “mnaysayers”.
    Please respond with your bank account number by voting YES.

    Humbly and Respectfully,
    Mr. Mbaike Ngorongoro Guardino IV

    Normally I report this kind of stuff as spam but I think this time it’s different. This guy sounds so nice. He seems so genuine. He really does sound as though he has MY best interest at heart.
    I think I WILL vote for that sales tax increase.

  50. Tom,
        I`d like to hear from you.
      “If you want us to vote in favor of the BART sales tax ballot measure”, you need to answer some of our questions that we can`t get answers for.
        I voted yes on Measure A in 2000. I also voted yes in 2006 on the transportation item.
        As a part of a growing movement of many other people who are asking questions that are not being answered, I will vote NO MORE MONEY FOR BART. The reason, we just can not continue ti vote in favor of BART on blind faith.
          Would you be willing to answer some of our questions if we presented them to you on San Jose Inside ?

  51. Richard – I don’t have all the answers here, and believe me, I have many q’s about BART and VTA – the latters’ competence and efficiency. I am anxious to see these ‘answerd’ in the clash of a campaign and look forward, as you, to the debate. I am keeping a very open mind.  TMcE

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