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View Diary: Close vote in California denied a recount (138 comments)

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  •  The past is the best indicator of the future (0+ / 0-)

    TALC, one of the progressive transit advocacy organization in the Bay Area, published the following: Overextended in 2001.

    "MTC’s evaluation of the project showed it to be the least cost-effective potential project for that corridor, costing an astounding $100 per new rider. The MTC study identified other projects that could
    attract more riders for much less money and could be implemented sooner than BART."

    "Finally, there is the very real risk that bus service may be cut if there are BART cost overruns or if no new operating funds are secured. VTA bus service is critical for those who depend on transit, especially low-income families and communities of color."

    In 2003, the same group issued another report when VTA proposed a 21% transit cut which was averted:

    "By November 2002, the economic nosedive combined with skyrocketing costs for the BART extension had combined to create a $6 billion operating shortfall during VTA’s 25 year planning horizon.

    "On November 8, 2002, a majority of VTA board members directed staff to develop a few balanced, or "live within your means," budgets. VTA staff responded the next month with three scenarios for balancing the agency’s budget. The first scenario was still not balanced, with expenses exceeding revenues so greatly as to ultimately lead the agency to bankruptcy. The third scenario was simply infeasible. The only long-term balanced scenario required cutting 70% of VTA’s bus services and abandoning all planned expansions except two: BART to San Jose and East Valley Light Rail."

    This post basically summarized what went in the past 8 years, and likely another 8 more years to come:

    •  That's still not proof (0+ / 0-)

      As any financial prospectus will tell you "past results are not indicative of future performance."

      They claim a risk, but just because there is a risk doesn't mean it's going to happen for certain.

      You're claiming VTA will cut bus service if the BART extension goes through as if it is a fact. That means you're being just as disingenuous as you claim the VTA is.

      You're also citing information that is over 6 years old when the dotcom bust was at it's lowest depths. Bus service was NOT cut by 80% (my bet that was an exaggerated scenario, but the supposedly unfeasable scenario wasn't described at all in the article) and the economy recovered shortly afterward and was going great guns three years later when I moved here in 2005. Granted the economy has taken another nosedive and there are problems, it doesn't seem as steep or severe as the doctom nosedive in 2001/02 or the seemingly endless recessions of the 1970s when middle class families were finding themselves homeless. Of course we're not done yet but given the overall economy has been in recession for a year, the overall impact here has been less than in other parts of the country and the state. That isn't to say things aren't going to get much worse, but if they do, the chances the project will even move forward are pretty remote unless the federal government steps in and takes it on as an infrastructure project to create jobs, at which point there will probably be a negotiation for the feds to cover some of the additional cost.

      The bottom line here is VTA bus service didn't disappear in 2002 and if it is to disappear in the future it won't be because of the BART extension.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:23:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Double standard (0+ / 0-)

        You demand people like me to present "proof" that it won't be enough, but you don't bother to demand "proof" from the VTA and it will.

        This is the agency memo from earlier this year that says a tax twice as much as Measure B wouldn't be enough:

        From there on, VTA refused to provide any further financial analysis.

        Bus service was not cut by 70%, but it cut about 15-20% already before transit advocates (including myself) pressured VTA to preserve bus service by directly some of the tax fund that could've gone to the BART project.

        The federal funds may or may not be there, but Measure B gives VTA enough of an excuse to further reduce transit service and other transit projects as the economy worsens. VTA is not a BART construction agency.

        •  The document you linked (0+ / 0-)

          Has no mention of Measure B. It's talking about a different measure.

          And no, I don't trust VTA however by law, their records are public and easily accessible. There is no double standard. I voted for both measures in the hopes they would figure out how to make it work, because I personally have neither the time nor the desire to manage VTA or the project myself. It doesn't do the VTA any good to gut its own services and judging from the agreements and what I've found in my own research BART isn't exactly chomping at the bit to extend to San Jose. In fact it seems they've been trying to discourage it.

          I will add VTA isn't predicting dire outcomes if the BART extension doesn't happen unlike the opponents. I don't necessarily trust either side, but I trust the more shrill side even less.

          I'm sorry but I'm not going to oppose progress on better high-speed mass transit just because the solution isn't perfect.

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

          by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:56:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That tax was never placed on the ballot (0+ / 0-)

            but it shows that Measure B wouldn't be enough.

            What we are demanding a responsive government. I don't know why it seems OK for you that a government agency to keep hiding the cost and withhold financial projections. Just because you like one of VTA's project. I support some transit projects in the Bay Area too, but I also expect good government.

            I would have no problem, and I believe that you would too, if VTA were to propose a higher tax that would unquestionably cover all the costs. However it may not have passed.

            Why am I expecting dire outcomes? Because they've been proposed before. It would happen again. It could only be prevented by the hard work of transit advocates that apparently you don't trust.

            Opposing a tax doesn't mean that you don't support transit, but as a method to trying to get better transit. It is like trying to cut funding to the Iraq war as a way to get an exit strategy. You can't keep continue to fund the same people and expect a different outcome.

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