Mayor Gavin Newsom Demands a Downtown Terminal for CA High Speed Rail

You know what San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wants? He wants the new California High Speed Rail System to make tracks all the way up to the new Transbay Terminal near Mission Street instead of having the rails end around the CalTrain Station on King Street. Says our Mayor, who is right now this moment learning all about high speed rail on the scene in Paris, France:

 We’re not going to build a $2 billion bus station under my watch.”

Well, that says it all.

Click to expand:  

François Lacôte, SVP at French conglomerate (and BART train maker!) Alstom Transport, and our globetrotting First Couple, Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, today trainspotting in France. Via the Mayor’s Office of Communications.

And you know who would agree with Gavin? Dave Snyder, Transportation Policy Director at San Francisco Planning + Urban Research (SPUR). He thinks the voter-approved high-speed rail should “reach right into the heart of San Francisco, even if it costs more than… [nibbles right pinky ] one billion dollars.”

However, High Speed Rail Authority Chair Quentin Kopp might look at things a different way.

What will it appear like? Here’s an idea on the YouTube: San Francisco Transbay Transit Center Animation. Complete with intra- and inter-city rail, it’s just like a small version of Toyko Station. They want you to think of it as the Grand Central Station of the West(TM).

Will we get the necessary $300,000,000 ”train box” underneath the TT earlier rather than later? Will CalTrain finally have a chance to get up there to Mission as well? Stay tuned.

More deets after the jump

   WHILE TOURING FRENCH HIGH SPEED RAIL SYSTEM, MAYOR NEWSOM CALLS FOR
              BRINGING HIGH SPEED RAIL TO TRANSBAY TERMINAL

 Mayor Newsom urges leadership of Transbay Terminal Development Project to
  Include High Speed Rail as a requirement of Phase One of the project

PARIS, FRANCE – Mayor Gavin Newsom used his tour of the French high speed
rail system (TGV) to make a public commitment to ensuring that California’s
future high speed rail system and Caltrain come to downtown San Francisco.
California’s high speed rail system, approved by voters this past November,
will link the State by rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  However,
the plan for the system is currently uncertain as to whether or not the
high speed trains would actually terminate in the new Transbay Terminal in
downtown San Francisco.  Today Mayor Newsom forcefully stated that the
first phase of the Transbay Terminal redevelopment must include a ‘train
box’ underneath the terminal to host the northern terminus of high speed
rail, as well as an extension of Caltrain.

“Since the onset of this project, I have been committed to the grand vision
of Transbay, including high speed rail, a downtown extension for Caltrain
and the visionary multi-use terminal itself,” Mayor Newsom explained.
“Including the rail box as part of the terminal construction is necessary
for this grand vision to be realized.”

To date, discussions at the Transbay Joint Powers Board, which oversees
development of the Transbay Terminal, have considered building the first
phase of the new Transbay Terminal without the train box, and coming back
later to excavate under the terminal and build for high speed rail only if
subsequent funding materializes.  Today Mayor Newsom took a strong position
against that idea, suggesting that the Transbay Joint Powers Board should
not move forward construction of the new transit center until funding is
secured for the inclusion of high speed rail and it is fully integrated
into the first phase of the project.

 “We’re not going to build a $2 billion bus station under my watch,” said
Mayor Newsom.

Under this plan, the Transbay Terminal would be a multi-modal transit hub
and northern terminus of California high speed rail, and would connect high
speed rail to Caltrain, BART, Muni and several regional bus lines.  Mayor
Newsom explained the importance of this linkage:  “High speed rail is a
game changer in California, but only if it connects the downtown transit
hubs of the two largest metro areas in the State.  Building a high speed
rail route that stops short of downtown San Francisco equates to building a
major highway that ends before it reaches a city.”

The Mayor identified the Transbay Terminal as a textbook example of the
type of infrastructure project that Federal stimulus and recovery funding
should be funding.

“The Transbay Terminal is the first rail facility built from the ground up
in 70 years and it will revolutionize our transportation system by
increasing environmentally friendly transportation options.  It will also
create over 2,600 good paying construction jobs in the first phase of
construction. It’s just the kind of infrastructure project we need to get
the country back on track.”

At today’s event in Paris, TGV officials provided Mayor Newsom with an
in-depth briefing on the history, construction, and operation of the TGV
System, and a “first-hand” opportunity to ride the TGV and see its
operations up close.

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5 Responses to “Mayor Gavin Newsom Demands a Downtown Terminal for CA High Speed Rail”

  1. salsa says:

    I’m with Gavin! Anything else would be… well, just like the disjointed mess of public transportation that we currently have in San Francisco.

    (BTW the source picture is 900×600, aspect ratio 1.5, but is getting squashed to 450×333, aspect ratio of 1.35 when rendered on the page– all squashy-like.)

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Muchas. It shows up on the PCs here properly as 450×300.

    Could it something to do with how your browser views the way I’m using WordPress? I don’t know.

  3. Eric in SF says:

    Agreed – the source dimensions and the browser img height/width tags are at odds. It’s squished here, too. Firefox on a Mac.

  4. sfcitizen says:

    (Boy, words like Salsa and Firefox bring back some bad memories…)

    Thanks for the input. I’ll test it out or have somebody look at it.

  5. Maybe Mister Mayor AND Quentin Kopp need to read Prop 1A again … there’s no freakin’ question where the terminus of the high-speed rail will be … and that is the Transbay Transit Center at 1st and Mission. The voters approved the bond to connect the Transbay Transit Center to whatever the similar thing is in la la land. Geez … Mister Mayor, spend time talking about actual issues that are up for debate and let delusional old men just make their delusional statements and let the folks who read the ballot measure correct their delusions.