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May 12, 2020



I don't even know what to say.........



From the DJ:

The city of San Mateo will receive $23.8 million in funding to complete its 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project after the San Mateo County Transportation Authority voted to grant the funding to the city last week.

The decision came at the Jan. 7 San Mateo County Transportation Authority meeting. The Caltrain 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project, which is around 85% finished, has overrun construction costs of $25.9 million. The city of San Mateo has agreed to pay $2.1 million to finish the project, while the remaining $23.8 million will now come from the Transportation Authority.

Caltrain officials cited COVID-19 cost overruns and issues with the relocation of a gas line and two fiber-optic lines as significant reasons for financial cost overruns.

As one of the guys who put one of those fiber-optic lines in circa 1984, I can tell you this was 100% foreseeable.


The Porkulus Bill has delivered some oikers to Caltrain. https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/caltrain-to-get-fed-money-for-electrification/article_2dc563be-82ee-11eb-8862-d3452190bf38.html#utm_source=smdailyjournal.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fheadlines%2F%3F-dc%3D1615561202&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline

As part of the recently passed federal American Rescue Plan Act, an estimated $1.25 billion will be available in transit funding for the San Francisco-Oakland area, which includes San Mateo County, with Caltrain earmarked to receive around $52 million for electrification, said Charles Stone, chair of the San Mateo County Transit District.

“Any extra funding we get at Caltrain right now is huge. We’ve got a shortfall,” said Stone, also the mayor of Belmont.

Stone said the $52 million would help electrification projects like the Caltrain Modernization Program, which will upgrade service reliability, including conversion to an electric fleet and station improvements.

Ya think they should have cut the schedule back big time when everyone was sheltering and done some lay-offs? Yep


Yesterday's front page headlines:

Daily Post: Overbudget, delayed 2 years
Daily Journal: Caltrain delays electrification

Multiple quotes about how this is "common" and "to be expected". Somehow the Caltrain Board seems to have to rely on the Federal Transit Administration to tell IT they are overbudget.

The Post quotes former Foster City mayor James Lawrence saying this is another example of "ineptitude and poor management" at Caltrain. He goes on "They've proven time and time again they can't manage public funds".

There's also the usual nonsense about merging with BART as if that will make things better.

Prediction: look for another tax to be layered on top of the last one (Measure RR) that added another $100 million per year in County unaffordability.

Paloma Ave

But, but, how can we NOT invest in 1830's technology?

Barking Dog



Dave Price at the Post gets 95% of the way there, then loses his way. Everything up to the "Why not BART?" sub-heading is right on.

I have notable experience regarding the underground utilities on the Caltrain right of way. It hosts the Sprint fiber optic route along with a number of others. I helped put that bit of fiber in the ground and was the person who enrolled the Sprint network in the Underground Service Alert system. Did you ever wonder why you see USA spray-painted near places that utilities and cable companies dig? That's the reason. The idea that Caltrain didn't know that there are a lot of various utilities running along and across the right of way including some that may not be included in USA's data is ridiculous. As Price notes, there are just too many "political characters" running the show. He just scratches the surface with his list.

BUT. But Dave Price just tosses out the assertion that BART is slightly better run. I'd love to see the back-up for that. Having watched it for 30 years, I see no evidence in support. And there is some evidence that elected Board members won't solve the problem. Recall this post if you will:


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