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13 August 2005

The Price of BART

Paul Rosynsky's Tribune article on yesterday's announcement has a couple of eye-popping revelations regarding BART:
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said it is possible for such a station to be built, but estimated it could cost at least $70 million.

In addition, Johnson said, BART would have to buy at least 10 additional train cars to service the station and residential units and would ask Wolff and the team to pay for them. That cost could be as much as $40 million.
I'm flabbergasted. I figured the station might cost $50-60 million, so $70 million isn't out of line, but the cost of buying extra train cars really pushes the price up. $110 million for a station one mile north of the Coliseum station? That's enormous. This sets the stage for the BART issue to become a showstopper. It's up to Oakland officials to get really creative on financing this piece.

Elsewhere the Trib, Dave Newhouse's column trumpets the convergence of two catalytic events for the A's. Eric Gilmore of the Contra Costa Times also chimes in with his column, which expresses a fair amount of optimism. And to answer one of the financing questions:
Wolff said he hopes to use money from the redevelopment project to help fund the A's stadium. What he won't do is sell personal seat licenses, which contributed to the Raiders' debacle.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why does it cost so much to build a BART station? I can understand if they were laying down new track, but, c'mon? How do a couple of turnstiles, escalators, and ticket machines add up to $70 million?

Anonymous said...

And how is it that BART needs 10 new cars, when they appear to be doing fine with the current cars? It's not like the A's are asking BART to expand all the way to San Rafeal or something, they're simply asking BART to make one extra stop in-between two stations which is doable because it is a pretty lengthy ride from Fruitvale to the Coliseum. Do you think BART's estimates are accurate? Because they based everything on that new station they just built.

Marine Layer said...

I'm going to make some calls on Monday. One of them will be to BART media relations to see how they break down the costs. I drove by the likely site of the new BART station and tried to visualize it. I'm starting to see where the money might go.

Anonymous said...

and where is that.....?

Bleacher Dave said...

Lew Wolff was quoted as saying that lack of a new Bart station is NOT a deal breaker.

Marine Layer said...

Dave, could you please post a link to that quote? I think it'd make a lot of people sleep easier (including me).

As for building a new platform, the tracks converge to run right next to each other a few blocks south of San Leandro and Seminary. The aerial is in a narrow strip of land, sandwiched between San Leandro and the railroad tracks. So to build the platform, additional land would have to be acquired (the tracks) and one or more aerial tracks may have to be rerouted. The alternative might be if there are two platforms on the outside of the tracks, but the southbound platform would have to be built over San Leandro St.

Bleacher Dave said...

Here's the link. It's not a quote, but is noted in the Dickey article.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/08/13/BALLPARK.TMP&feed=rss.news

Marine Layer said...

The use of the word "preferred" is misleading. That's probably Dickey's choice of words there when he wrote the article.

Dave Newhouse's column, on the other hand, does have a direct quote from Wolff,

"Aesthetically, a waterfront site would be my first choice."It would be great to be on the water for anything," Wolff said after the JPA presentation, having granted a private interview with this columnist. "But we must have a connection to BART and access — off-ramps."

Anonymous said...

Well notice how he said "connection to BART", not "BART station". :)

Bleacher Dave said...

Exactly. Even without a new Bart station, the proposed site has a Bart connection.

Marine Layer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marine Layer said...

I made a couple of calls and fired off some e-mails to BART's planning department. I hope to get more information.

As for "connection to BART," I'll leave that to interpretation. I'll assume the worst (BART station), and hope for the best (a compromise plan). As I said on the scout.com message board, if I'm Wolff I'm saying, "I'm paying for the land, I'm building the ballpark and bringing developers to a blighted, underserved area, the least you (Oakland) can do is provide zoning and help with mass transit, and since BART already runs near the area, it makes sense to build a station there." Maybe there's some room for compromise, but I wouldn't assume that he'll budge on it. He'll be bringing in maybe 10,000 new residents. A BART station within walking distance (1/2 mile) is a major selling point for any new housing there.

Bleacher Dave said...

BART is already financially strapped, and I don't see how the BART BOD benefits from building a station for a baseball owner. Wouldn't that pretty much guarantee getting turned out in the next election?

I believe Wolff to be a realist. He's been pretty clear that he's sensitive to the direction that the political wind is blowing.

As far as walking to Bart, how many people walk to Bart? The most important amenity for a BART station is its parking lot. Isn't the Coliseum station scheduled to be revamped along the lines of the Fruitvale station, along with the sprucing up of San Leandro Blvd?

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