High-speed rail deal is bad for Peninsula 

Caltrain and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission made an agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority that benefits only San Francisco and San Jose, and does nothing to protect Peninsula families, businesses or their tax base from eminent domain “takings” in the near future due to high-speed rail.

So typical of these big cities and the CHSRA. This agreement to “electrify” Caltrain as part of the authority’s new “blended rail” scheme violates Proposition 1A and does not mandate nor legally require the CHSRA to give up any future “four-track HSR alignment” on the Peninsula.

If Caltrain, the MTC or the CHSRA cared about Peninsula families, the agreement would have legally required the CHSRA to stop the environmental review and study of a four-track alignment, and mandate the CHSRA to forever stay within Caltrain’s existing two-track right of way.  

But it doesn’t. So thousands of Peninsula families and businesses continue to face the cold specter and threat of imminent eviction by CHSRA eminent-domain takings. This “deal” satisfies only powerful big cities, while Peninsula families and businesses are collateral damage.

Mike Brown, Burlingame

Department wasting cash

I would like to call attention to a complete waste of the taxpayers’ and PG&E ratepayers’ money.

More than a century ago, there were two manufactured-gas plants in the Marina district. They ceased to operate after the 1906 earthquake. In the past several years, the Department of Toxic Substance Control has been taking samples and evaluating “remedial action alternatives” for a nonexistent problem.

Its published fact sheet states, “There is no evidence of exposure.” Even so, it did numerous tests. The predictable findings: “Existing soil conditions do not raise healthconcerns.”

Was this finding sufficient for the department to stop and use resources in more useful ways? No! Now they are still considering “remedial action alternatives.” To remedy what?

California is facing huge deficits, yet its taxpayers’ money is wasted like this in looking for solutions for nonexistent problems. How can this and similar senseless waste be stopped?

The department is soliciting comments on this issue, and on April 2 at 6:30 p.m., it is conducting a public meeting at Fort Mason Center.

Tibor Harsanyi, San Francisco

Keep BART increase small

BART riders should be rewarded for taking this form of transportation instead of having to pay more due to a $7 billion shortfall (“BART seeks feedback on fare increase,” March 4).

The logical choice for raising BART prices is to increase the cost by 5 cents, versus 10 cents orinflation-based escalation.

Many Bay Area residents rely on public transportation, and this would force them to start paying hundreds of dollars more a year.

BART is practical because it covers all of the Bay Area for cheap and is environmentally friendly.

If prices were raised, there would be enough money for new rail cars, but BART may lose passengers. Would this price increase help BART economically? Or simply make the agency lose commuters?

Eleanor Murray-Mendelson, San Francisco

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