Quentin Kopp has made a steady transition to a critic of the California high-cost rail as it is currently planned. That is certainly more enlightened than Sue Lempert's perspective. What is more fun than watching a reformed former poobah (his term) take to task an unreformed former poobah as Kopp has done in this opinion piece?
A lot of the refuted points relate to the history of BART, the MTC, SamTrans, but the high cost rail part is the best
I add more historical footnotes. SamTrans never operated the BART-to-SFO extension. The Burlingame City Council did not oppose such extension, just as it has opposed the California High-Speed Rail project. But, that project is no longer high speed. As stated by its chairman last February, it now represents a “statewide rail modernization program ...,” not a system which travels at 200 mph in the Central Valley and even up to 125 mph on the Peninsula and in the Los Angeles Basin. That’s the reason, to quote Ms. Lempert, “... today, we have another group of people fighting high-speed rail.” That’s the reason Kings County and two county ranchers filed a thus far winning lawsuit over violations of the 2008 bond measure approved by voters in the amount of $9.95 billion, such as forcing riders from San Francisco to Los Angeles to change trains twice, preventing high-speed trains from operating at five-minute headways during peak hours and not meeting ballot measure-required travel times between San Francisco and Los Angeles and other routes.
and on the cost picture, Kopp appears to have gotten religion
Finally, Lempert’s reliance on the current estimate of just under $68 billion for a high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles is misplaced; a year ago, the $98 billion estimate spawned a paroxysm of anxiety in architects of the present bastardization of California High-Speed Rail, including its chairman and all but two other board members. The ballot measure requirement of service from San Francisco to Anaheim (not just Los Angeles) was quickly ignored to reduce the cost estimate to $68 billion, which was then reduced last February to $67.5 billion! (I didn’t know California was experiencing deflation).
He still not a full-convert because even if the plan was fully compliant with the original Proposition it would still have massive flaws in its business plan and operational complexity and impact on cities along the route. But, all-in-all, welcome aboard!