Off the San Francisco Rails
$1.6 billion for 1.7 miles of subway.
Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but the politicians who contrived the city's Chinatown subway project must have left their brains somewhere else. The subway is a case study in government incompetence and wasted taxpayer money.
P.S. The Obama Administration is all for it.
Former Mayor Willie Brown sold a half-cent sales tax hike to voters in 2003 to pay for the 1.7-mile line on the pretext that the subway would ease congestion on Chinatown's crowded buses, but he was more interested in obtaining the political support of Chinatown's power brokers. In 2003, the city estimated the line would cost $647 million, but the latest prediction is $1.6 billion, or nearly $100 million for each tenth of a mile.
Transportation experts say the subway's design is seriously flawed and that improving the existing bus and light-rail service would make more sense. The subway misses connections with 25 of the 30 light-rail and bus lines that it crosses, and there's no direct connection to the 104-mile Bay Area Rapid Transit line or to the ferry.
Commuters will have to travel eight stories underground to catch the train and walk nearly a quarter of a mile to connect to the Market Street light-rail lines--after riding the subway for only a half mile. Tom Rubin, the former treasurer-controller of Southern California Rapid Transit District, calculates that taking the bus would be five to 10 minutes faster along every segment.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
I Left My Taxes in San Francisco
From Tuesday's Wall Street Journal: