The Subway to Nowhere

The Subway to Nowhere
House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
June 27, 2012

Mr. Chairman:

    This amendment forbids further federal expenditures for the Central Subway project in San Francisco.

    The project is a 1.7 mile subway that is estimated to cost $1.6 billion –– and those cost estimates continue to rise.  Its baseline budget has more than doubled in nine years and shows no signs of slowing.  The current estimate brings the cost to nearly $1 billion per mile.  That’s five times the cost per lane mile of Boston’s scandalous “Big Dig.”

    It was supposed to link local light rail and bus lines with CalTrain and Bay Area Rapid Transit, but it’s so badly designed that it bypasses 25 of the 30 light rail and bus lines that it crosses.  To add insult to insanity, it dismantles the seamless light-rail to BART connection currently available to passengers at Market Street, requiring them instead to walk nearly a quarter mile to make the new connection.  Experts estimate it will cost commuters between five and ten minutes of additional commuting time on every segment of the route.

    The Wall Street Journal calls it “a case study in government incompetence and wasted taxpayer money.”
     
    They’re not alone.  The Civil Grand Jury in San Francisco has vigorously recommended the project be scrapped, warning that maintenance alone could ultimately bankrupt San Francisco’s Muni.  The former Chairman of the San Francisco Transportation Agency has called it, “one of the costliest mistakes in the city’s history.” 

    Even the sponsors estimate that it will increase ridership by less than one percent, and there is vigorous debate that this projection is far too optimistic.   

    I think Margaret Okuzumi, the Executive Director of the Bay Rail Alliance put it best when she said,

    “Too many times, we’ve seen money for public transit used to primarily benefit people who would profit financially, while making transit less convenient for actual transit riders.  Voters approve money for public transit because they want transit to be more convenient and available…it would be tragic if billions of dollars were spent on something that made Muni more time consuming, costly and unable to sustain its overall transit service.”

    This administration is attempting to put federal taxpayers – our constituents -- on the hook for nearly a billion dollars of the cost of this folly through the “New Starts” program – or more than 60 percent.  We have already squandered $123 million on it.  This amendment forbids another dime of our constituents’ money being wasted on this boondoggle.

    Now here is an important question that members may wish to ponder:  “Why should your constituents pay nearly a billion dollars for a purely local transportation project in San Francisco that is opposed by a broad, bi-partisan coalition of San Franciscans, including the Sierra Club, Save Muni (a grassroots organization of Muni Riders), the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods, and three of the four local newspapers serving San Francisco?

    Why, indeed.

    I’m sorry, I don’t have a good answer to that question.  But those who vote against this amendment had better have one when their constituents ask, “What in the world were you thinking?”

# # #

This amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act (HR 5972) was approved by the House on June 29th.  The legislation next goes to the Senate.

Tele-townhall banner 

Latest News

Lake Tahoe Summit

I want to thank Senator Feinstein for hosting this year's summit and for directing its attention to the threat of catastrophic wildfire, the greatest natural threat facing the Lake Tahoe region.

In Defense of Israel

We are watching the rise of Islamic fascism on a scale unprecedented in modern times. It may be wrapped in different symbols and trace its genealogy through a different line, but at its core, it is fascism. Listen to its virulent anti-Semitism, the explicit promise of genocide, the utter rejection - indeed, disdain - for fundamental principles of democracy, justice and human rights. There can be no doubt what is happening. European fascism might have consumed all of Europe except for one gritty holdout - for more than a year, Great Britain stood in the breach. Had it fallen, the consequences would have been unthinkable.

The Border Crisis

Wherever I go, people express a growing anger over the illegal immigration that is overwhelming our southern border. People ask me: "How can we talk about securing the border...

View more »

Search

Connect with Tom

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • News Feed

Upcoming Events

Staff Satellite Office Hours

Office staff members are available to assist constituents with problems or concerns at satellite office locations held throughout the district.  Anyone wishing to discuss an issue of federal concern is invited to attend one of these satellite office sessions and speak with a member of staff.  For more information, or to reach staff, please call the district office at 916-786-5560.
  
Staff Satellite Office Hours:
 
Amador County 
 
Jackson
Tuesday, September 23rd
9:30 am-11:30 am
Conference Room D
County Administration Center
810 Court Street
 
Calaveras County
 
San Andreas
Tuesday, September 9th
9:30 am-11:30 am
Calaveras County Water Agency Conference Room
120 Toma Court
 
El Dorado County
 
Camino
Wednesday, September 24th
12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Camino Pollock Pines Chamber of Commerce
4123 Carson Road
 
El Dorado Hills
Wednesday, September 24th
9:00 am-11:00 am
El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce
2085 Vine Street, #105
 
Fresno County 
 
Auberry
Thursday, September 25th
12:00 pm-1:30 pm
The Auberry Library
33049 Auberry Rd
 
Madera County 
 
Oakhurst
Thursday, September 11th
11:30 am-1:00 pm
Yosemite Visitor Bureau Conference Room
40637 Highway 41
 
Coarsegold
Thursday, September 4th
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse
30250 Yosemite Springs Parkway
 
Mariposa County
 
Mariposa
Tuesday, September 23rd
8:30 am-10:00 am
Library Conference Room
4978 10th Street
 
Nevada County 
 
Truckee
Thursday, September 18th
10:00 am-11:30 am
Truckee Town Hall
Council Chambers
10183 Truckee Airport Road
 
Placer County
 
Auburn
Wednesday, September 10th 
9:00 am-11:00 am
Auburn City Hall
Room #10
1225 Lincoln Way
 
Lincoln
Wednesday, September 10th 
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall
600 6th Street
 
Rocklin
Tuesday, September 23rd
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Rocklin City Hall
3980 Rocklin Rd
 
Foresthill
Thursday, September 25th 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Foresthill Veteran’s Memorial Hall
24660 Harrison Street
 
Loomis
Tuesday, September 30th
Loomis Town Hall/Conference Room
10:00 am-12:00 pm
3665 Taylor Road
 
Tuolumne County
 
Sonora
Tuesday, September 9th
1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Small Business Center Conference Room
99 N Washington St
 
  
For further information on staff satellite office hours, please call 916-786-5560.