09 December 2005

VTA pulls BART federal funding request - effect on SJ ballpark

Spiraling costs and debates about the direction and financial stability of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority caused VTA to pull its request for $750 million in federal funds today. While this isn't directly related to the ballpark, it at least for the time being kills one of the arguments for a San Jose ballpark: BART access from the East Bay. That news will come into play with the upcoming environmental impact report, which will have to take not having BART into account.

That isn't to say that BART coming to the South Bay in the future isn't completely dead, but it will push the expected operation date of 2017-2018 out several more years. It's possible that VTA will move to an alternative, one that doesn't involve the expensive downtown San Jose subway that would run underneath Santa Clara Street. Since feasibility of the Fremont/Warm Springs extension is dependent on the South Bay extension, it's quite possible that Warm Springs (which did not receive federal funding earlier this year) is not happening anytime soon either. That could create a similar albeit lesser negative effect on a Fremont ballpark.


Anonymous said...

I think if Wolff is provided with the opportunity to relocate the A's to San Jose (no deal in Oakland, territorial rights issue resolved, ballpark measure passed in SJ), it won't matter if BART comes to SJ or not. Besides, the Diridon South Site is already accessible by VTA light Rail, Caltrain, ACE, and the future High-Speed rail line. BART would be great, but again I don't think it's totally necessary.

Georob said...

I've always felt that a Warm Springs BART extension would be far down the road, even under the best of circumstances. If I'm Lew Wolff, any Fremont plans proceed with the reality that BART won't go to Warm Springs(if not ever, then at least for ten years after any new stadium)

Does that kill Fremont? It at least gives Oakland more leverage in my opinion. BART access is probably one of the few selling points the Coliseum has left, and everyone knows that.

Rhamesis, what's you take on the Hegenberger Road corridor? It would seem to me that it would be a lot easier for Wolff to develop something there as there is more open space and what IS there is pretty much retail and fast food that can be demolished and relocated easier.

The light industrial that currently makes up Coliseum North contributes more to the tax base and provides good paying jobs, and I think that's going to be a sticking point with the city, particularly if we have to use eminent domain.

Marine Layer said...

BART isn't totally necessary, but it's a definite nice-to-have. Then again, new transit options like the proposed high-speed line or electrified Caltrain in the East Bay could make it much easier for fans from Alameda County (but not Contra Costa County).

I've always thought that the Coliseum South was a viable option because of its better proximity to BART, the bigger south parking lots, and the future Airport people mover. I've even drawn up some ideas for mixed development next to a ballpark like Bay Street in Emeryville or Santana Row in San Jose (checking out the Coliseum South photo overview). If the Coliseum North option fails, South should be the backup. I think Oakland city councilman Larry Reid knows this and has put the option out there.