Following up on the post about the Alameda County transportation sales tax extension, it allocates $20 million to analyze and upgrade the Interstate 580/680 interchange.
Compare that with $400 million for the very expensive extension of BART to Livermore and the $132 million allocated to improvements on the Highway 84 corridor between Livermore and Sunol. The Highway 84 improvements can have a direct positive effect on the 580/680 interchange by providing an efficient route to southbound 680 in Sunol.
If the Highway 84 improvements allow southbound 580 commuters to save time, they will embrace it. The open questionthe huge oneis whether anything less than a full-fledged freeway with a full interchange at 84/680 can improve mobility enough that motorists will readily take the alternative.
Discussing transportation, I already have posted about the governor and Democrat leaders diverting cap-and-trade revenues (another great government scam) to the high-speed rail. That was $250 million this year and 25 percent of annual revenues in the ongoing years. The environmental documents already show that the high-speed rail does not reduce greenhouse gasesso the legality is being appropriately challenged.
What's equally interesting is that incoming Senate leader Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying the Legislature needed to save the governor from himself on the high speed rail. De Leon also said that the high-speed rail early expenditures would be much better if they were loaded in the metropolitan areas north and south so there was a payoff in lessening commute traffic. That brought up a route from Palmdale to Burbank that, because of mountains and urban areas, will be very expensive to build, but actually might be utilized by passengers.
Other reporting pointed out that if the pols were really interested in maximizing ridership, the route would run along the coast between San Diego and Los Angelestrains that currently are well utilized by riders.
The governor, who took office with the state facing massive annual deficits, helped erase that by cutting spending and convincing voters to pass "temporary" tax increases in 2012 that are scheduled to expire in 2017. He's worked hard to be fiscally responsible in many areas, but continues to ignore reality when it comes to high-speed rail.