Newsom Adamant Transbay Project
Include High-Speed Rail Terminal

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in News, Politics

Published on January 26, 2009 with 1 Comment

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, with Jennifer Siebel Newsom
and Francois Lacote, Senior Vice President, Alstom Transport, by his side,
today strongly stated that the first phase of the Transbay Terminal project
must include a high-speed rail terminus.
Photo courtesy mayor’s office.

From the Mayor’s Office of Communications

January 26, 2009

PARIS, FRANCE – Mayor Gavin Newsom used his tour of the French high speed rail system (TGV) to make a public commitment to ensuring that California’s future high speed rail system and Caltrain come to downtown San Francisco.

California’s high speed rail system, approved by voters this past November, will link the State by rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco. However, the plan for the system is currently uncertain as to whether or not the high speed trains would actually terminate in the new Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco. Today Mayor Newsom forcefully stated that the first phase of the Transbay Terminal redevelopment must include a ‘train box’ underneath the terminal to host the northern terminus of high speed rail, as well as an extension of Caltrain.

“Since the onset of this project, I have been committed to the grand vision of Transbay, including high speed rail, a downtown extension for Caltrain and the visionary multi-use terminal itself,” Mayor Newsom explained. “Including the rail box as part of the terminal construction is necessary for this grand vision to be realized.”

To date, discussions at the Transbay Joint Powers Board, which oversees development of the Transbay Terminal, have considered building the first phase of the new Transbay Terminal without the train box, and coming back later to excavate under the terminal and build for high speed rail only if subsequent funding materializes. Today Mayor Newsom took a strong position against that idea, suggesting that the Transbay Joint Powers Board should not move forward construction of the new transit center until funding is secured for the inclusion of high speed rail and it is fully integrated into the first phase of the project.

“We’re not going to build a $2 billion bus station under my watch,” said Mayor Newsom.

Under this plan, the Transbay Terminal would be a multi-modal transit hub and northern terminus of California high speed rail, and would connect high speed rail to Caltrain, BART, Muni and several regional bus lines. Mayor Newsom explained the importance of this linkage: “High speed rail is a game changer in California, but only if it connects the downtown transit hubs of the two largest metro areas in the State. Building a high speed rail route that stops short of downtown San Francisco equates to building a major highway that ends before it reaches a city.”

The Mayor identified the Transbay Terminal as a textbook example of the type of infrastructure project that Federal stimulus and recovery funding should be funding.

“The Transbay Terminal is the first rail facility built from the ground up in 70 years and it will revolutionize our transportation system by increasing environmentally friendly transportation options. It will also create over 2,600 good paying construction jobs in the first phase of construction. It’s just the kind of infrastructure project we need to get the country back on track.”

At today’s event in Paris, TGV officials provided Mayor Newsom with an in depth briefing on the history, construction, and operation of the TGV System, and a “first-hand” opportunity to ride the TGV and see its operations up close.

1 Comment

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Include High-Speed Rail Terminal
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  1. Yeah,

    Ask em to define ‘train box’. I sat transfixed a few years back while they talked about digging a huge hole, pouring giant ball of concrete in the hole, then building a thousand foot skyscraper on top of the glob of concrete and coming back later to bore a hole in the concrete under the 100 story building (think anyone might bitch?) and putting rails and … ?

    It’s insane. Word was that the whole thing was a scheme to get the state to release the land which would then go to developers for high-end market rate condos and the station would never be built. Looks like they see dollar signs in Obama and we might get the station after all. But hey, a 4 story glass building in the center of an earthquake zone in a building with many tons of baggage from all over the world coming through every day? One bang and the whole thing comes down.