Valley Link Project – Still in its Infancy

BATWG Newsletter Issue No. 30

On September 9, 2020 the Tri-Valley, San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (TVSJVRRA) was presented an update on the Valley Link (VL) project by its staff and consultants. The presentation outlined the following major changes: changes in alignment, revised section boundaries, revised station locations, revised station lengths, revised ridership, revised train length and revised cost estimates. Other uncertainties, including the method of train propulsion, remain. Nonetheless two weeks later, presumably driven to position VL for early federal stimulus funding, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) approved the diversion of $400 million in Alameda County sales taxes to the project. BATWG opposed the ACTC’s action, arguing that earmarking of capital funding for the plan as presented was premature and that critical information was lacking.

Numerous outstanding questions that are critical to potential success or failure of the VL project remain unanswered. Chief among them:

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Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District: Rich in Transportation History & Innovation

The Golden Gate Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District [GGBHTD] was born in 1969 with Assembly Bill 584 authorization and the Golden Gate Ferry service between San Francisco and Sausalito launched in August, 1070. This was followed by the Golden Gate Transit bus service which began operations in 1972.

The GGBHTD has an impressive history of innovation and effective leadership. Under Bridge Board direction, the District is currently managed by Denis Mulligan. Mr. Mulligan was the District’s Chief Engineer from 2001 to 2010 and since 2010 has been its General Manager. Among the District’s many noteworthy accomplishments are the following:

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Quote of the Month

At the May 5/6 National Shared Mobility Summit, SFMTA Transportation Director Jeff Tumlin was quoted as saying: “This (sic…meaning the pandemic) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to question all of the historic, political decisions that created the transit system, in the form that it was when we inherited it.”

Could he actually have said that? Could he have failed to learn how and under what circumstances transit evolved? Or how and why its decline began after WWII. Or why it continues to have appeal for urbanites and environmentalists? Has he never seen or read about the great systems of many European and Japanese cities?

Mr. Tumlin should forget trying to psychoanalyze the politicians and instead focus on making his system work better.