In recent years San Francisco City Hall has taken a lot of heat from BATWG and other groups for its lack of commitment to bringing the Caltrain trains downtown and into the new Salesforce Transit Center. While past and present municipal officials have often been effusive in their praise of the extension project (DTX), no one actually does much. The City of San Francisco’s financial contribution to the new Transit Center and DTX extension stands at less 2% of the project cost, compared to its 37% allocation to the Third Street/Central Subway project. In any event, for whatever reason the government of San Francisco has been unable to advance DTX.
The real problem child in all this is MTC. Caltrain passes through three MTC counties, each with its own separate priorities and interests. Extending the well-used 78-mile passenger rail service the last 1.3 miles into the new Salesforce Transit Center would improve rail connections between the South Bay, Silicon Valley; all points along the Peninsula; downtown San Francisco, and the Muni Metro and transbay BART rail lines running under Market Street. This makes DTX a regional project of great importance to the entire Bay Area.
Yet when it comes to DTX, MTC clearly regards itself as a funding conduit and little else. At no time has MTC ever taken ownership of the project or worked diligently to advance the project or stepped up to help resolve the difficult institutional problems that have risen from time to time. Instead it has been content to sit back
comfortably in its posh new downtown offices and watch SF’s City Hall and the SF-dominated Transbay Joint Powers Authority struggle. DTX is a major regional project that ought to be promoted and sponsored at the regional level.
This article was featured in Newsletter Issue 8. Click here to go back to the newsletter.