Voters asked to weigh Transbay Transit Center’s bullet-train potential 

San Francisco voters could be asked to confirm the obvious this June: that California bullet trains should eventually terminate at an existing South of Market transit center where federal stimulus funds have been pledged for an underground bullet train station.

The ballot initiative, which is sponsored by SoMa Supervisor Chris Daly and three of his colleagues, is only necessary because the California High Speed Rail Authority is analyzing an alternative Beale Street terminus that would displace scores of residents and businesses.

The authority says it’s required to study the alternative location as part of an environmental analysis.

Authority board member Quentin Kopp has stated that the Beale Street alternative should be considered because it could be less expensive to extend rail to that location from Fourth and King streets, where Caltrain currently terminates.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds would be provided to build an underground bullet train station at the Transbay Transit Center, which is being rebuilt.

It will cost at least $2 billion to extend rail from Fourth and King streets to the Transbay Transit Center in order to utilize the station.

The Board of Supervisors’ Rules Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to discuss the proposed ballot initiative.

If the initiative is passed by the majority of San Francisco voters, it would become city policy that: “The new Transbay Transit Center, under construction at First and Mission streets, be the Northern California terminus for California High Speed Rail.”

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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