High-speed rail just another money pit 

The cost of the Golden Gate Bridge doubled; the cost of BART’s original 75-mile system rose slightly more so. The cost of the BART extension to San Francisco International Airport increased 63 percent. Such increases are mild by today’s “standards.”

A recent audit shows the “worst case” Central Subway cost as triple that of the original cost. The projected cost of California high-speed rail already quadrupled and will no doubt rise further. The cost of BART’s Oakland Airport Connector has almost quadrupled. The cost of the Bay Bridge eastern span more than quadrupled, and the cost of the Doyle Drive project has so far almost quintupled.

Low early estimates are sometimes the result of dishonest “low-balling” by project sponsors. Nowadays, capital cost estimating tends to get lost in the world of environmental impact reporting. Often the task is passed off to a subcontractor or sub-subcontractor with neither the resources nor the experience to do the job properly. The accuracy of cost estimates no longer seems to count for much. The attitude seems to be “move the project and the money will come.”

Gerald Cauthen, Oakland


Lax dog rules killed bison

It is interesting that the same issue that printed a letter defending the arrogance of dog owners should also carry an article about the poor bison that died as the result of yet one more scofflaw allowing her dogs to run off-leash.

It is disgusting and inexcusable that city government is intimidated by this entitled group and allows this situation to continue. What’s worse is that there is no penalty for the person responsible for the death of the bison.

Carl Hoffman, San Francisco


Perspective on rail costs

Thanks for your Sunday story providing perspective on California high-speed rail by comparing its projected cost overruns with other grand (and beneficial) public project costs over the years, including BART and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Let’s not forget that we somehow built the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State building and Hoover Dam in the midst of the Great Depression. Surely we can build a high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.

Mike Zonta, San Francisco


Shopping local helps city

I was very disturbed by the My City feature in Sunday’s San Francisco Examiner. The person profiled in the piece might like living in The City. But he does it no favors by looking at kitchen gadgets at Sur La Table and then buying them online from Amazon.com.

Nothing hurts our local economy more than people like this. We all need to shop locally and support our local stores. Yes, Sur La Table is a chain. But the wages earned by the people who work there stay in our community, as well as the sales taxes and other revenues that are generated. I implore our citizens to shop locally because it helps all of us.

Jeff Jahnke, San Francisco

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