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1. Here’s what’s first up:
“SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 27, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today issued the following statement through his campaign for Mayor of San Francisco on a Board of Supervisors resolution expressing support for the controversial Central Subway project. Herrera published his 11-page issue paper on Sept. 8 outlining his opposition to the project as currently conceived on the basis of extensive evidence. The campaign issue paper detailed Herrera’s rationale for why the Central Subway project has ceased to be a prudent investment; why it will not improve MUNI service; and why it does not fulfill the objectives of a modern citywide transit system.
Herrera’s conclusion mirrored findings of the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury, whose July report after a seven-month investigation concluded that the Central Subway project was “too much money for too little benefit,” and should be redesigned.
The following is Dennis Herrera’s statement on the Board resolution today:
“Reasonable minds can disagree, but I strongly believe that the roughly $1-billion-per-mile cost of the Central Subway cannot justified by its purported benefits. As currently designed, it poses grave risks to MUNI’s financial stability and will adversely impact transit riders citywide. I respect the views of Board members who support the project, and I think we can all agree that the enormous costs and risks of this project to San Francisco taxpayers deserve a serious, substantive discussion about its relative merits. I welcome that debate, and hope it is one all the mayoral candidates will have in this election season.”
Herrera’s issue paper on the topic, entitled, “It’s Time to Rethink the Central Subway.”
2. Now, let’s hear from a MUNI rider, who also has some thoughts on the horrible, politically-motivated Central Subway.
Read the whole thing from John Murphy right here. An excerpt:
I am dismayed to hear your commentary regarding the Central Subway in the Board of Supervisors today. Certainly it has become a political football as we all know.
Full disclosure – in my opinon, there are better options for rider service than digging a tunnel. However, I think a well designed tunnel has a lot of benefit that might scale to larger solutions, so I cannot oppose the idea of such a tunnel.
However, if this subway does get built I feel it is imperative to move the Union Square station to connect directly at Powell. If we spend “over a Billion” dollars on this project, we must do it properly, otherwise it will not draw the support that will get us the money to extend the system further.
The transit dependent citizens of Chinatown – and transit dependent citizens of other neighborhoods – will be done a huge disservice if the subway goes in as it is designed. Every Saturday AM I ride the BART from the outer neighborhoods towards the East Bay. It is absolutely packed with senior citizens from Daly City who are headed to Chinatown, and whom transfer to the 30 at Powell Street Station. The reverse trip is also very common. Those people deserve a legitimate connection from BART and MUNI Metro to the Central Subway – not a series of escalators and a long walk to Union Square. The Central Subway supporters claim that the Union Square/Powell connection does exist, but as a reference the “combined” station will resemble the “Chatelet” station in Paris, which is used as a connection primarly by confused tourists who have yet to realize that the connection is worse than going above ground and walking to your destination.
This echos Supervisor Chu’s call for outer neighborhood connectivity – the current design reduces that connectivity! The average age of the riders I see on those trains is well over 60. In theory the 30 Stockton will still exist, but the operations funding needed to run the Central Subway will reduce the ability to run that line at frequency….”
I learned a thing or two there, didn’t you?
I mean, I just don’t understand how on Earth the Central Subway, as it’s proposed, makes sense.
3. Do you know that after they cancelled the Bridge to Nowhere, Sarah Palin went ahead and built the $26,000,000 connecting road anyway? It’s called the Road to Nowhere.
See it? They were going to build a Golden Gate Bridge so people in town could get to the airport on a road instead of on a ferry. The bridge was going to go in right at the lower right of the photo:
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Why should the federal government fund projects that can’t get financed on a more local level?
Here’s the news of the day, from Will Reisman:
Costly mistakes such as the politically-motivated Central Subway project can be costly. Yes.
The question now is what to do about it, right?
Now, what about the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’ve given to Tom Otterness? If we say we’ve made a mistake, go away Tom, keep the money we’ve already given you, well then yes, that will cost us money. But it’d the right thing to do at this point.
Similarly, the hundreds of millions already sunk into the Central Subway project will be “wasted” if the Feds pull the plug or if Congress changes its mind or if we just cancel it on our own. But it’d be the right thing to do at this point.
The politicians who say they support the Central Subway – you know what they really think about it? For a lot of them, they have a nuanced position, they’re not mindless cheerleaders the way they sometimes seem.
Can you think of any other big federal project that had such a negative grand jury report come out beforehand? I can’t.
What other large federally-funded project in American history, you know, a project designed ostensibly to benefit just one city, has had such strong local opposition?
We’re special! We’re unique!
At least the Bridge to Nowhere was eventually cancelled, right?
Anyway, just for laughs, since the politicians in charge wish to ignore it:
Now, is the Central Subway the best way to spend transit dollars, the best way to improve MUNI? That’s the question.
It’ll cost $315,660 per new rider, minimum? What if it were a million – would the boosters still be boosting? Well, sure, that would mean more money for them, more money for the politically-connected builders, right?
It’s the same question now as four years ago:
And the answer’s the same now – yes it’s a visionary project and yes it’s a colossal boondoggle.