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Dumbarton rail project to get full environmental, fiscal analysis

Original post made on Nov 6, 2018

In a sharp acceleration of a project that has for decades lurched through planning processes that haven't gone anywhere, a proposal to reinstate passenger rail transit along the Dumbarton corridor is moving forward in earnest, due mainly to a new partnership formed by SamTrans, Facebook and the Plenary Group.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 11:55 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 6, 2018 at 12:36 pm

From first blush, this project seems that it will cost more than the return even if Facebook funds some of it. Does this really make sense?

Leasing office space in the East Bay might make more sense and can be done more timely than trying to get a rail bridge back, tracks, etc. back in place which could take years.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 7, 2018 at 3:18 pm

With current election results....
Combs can’t vote on this PROJECT!


Enjoy your 4 years....

Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 7, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Please keep the pictures of the current state of the rail line coming. So fun to see what things looked like when rail was new technology, many many years ago.

Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 8, 2018 at 8:55 am

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

The Dumbarton rail project, as described in this article, illustrates the need for stronger Menlo Park council leadership and a more proactive approach to public/private partnerships in MP. At the recent candidate’s forum, City Attorney Bill McClure told Betsy Nash (who asked about them) that MP had about 50 public/private partnerships. However, the list is not publicly available and I only know of three: MP aquatics programs, Little House and the Children’s Day Care Center at Nealon Park. (If anyone knows of more, please supply the details.)

The recent pool contract at Burgess Park generated many public concerns. Web Link However, calls for a performance audit of MP’s aquatics program were so far ignored.

The voters clearly want more proactive leadership, fresh ideas and a much stronger focus on residents’ interests by our Council members. It’s also time to consider establishing a City Auditor position that would report directly to Council.

This particular deal contains many troubling details. First, the public/private partnership between Facebook, Sam Trans and the Plenary Group was formed in August yet our Council wasn’t formally told about it until the Oct 23 Council meeting. Given Facebook’s importance to MP, I suspect that private meetings were held earlier. We need a Sunshine Ordinance for greater transparency into private meetings between council members and others. Next, while we are only initially talking about a study funded by the partnership, the public will pay for any implementation, which would cost millions. This type of Trojan horse approach to funding large projects is too common in MP. One particularly sees it with our large Capital Improvement projects. The initial project is presented as a study without the full-on possible costs adequately detailed.

Finally, the article discusses an “ad hoc” subcommittee and notes that there is no “’fleshed out plan.’” The loose approach needs more rigor and greater public involvement. Our Council also needs to be much more actively involved, earlier, in these types of deals and/or to be open to new ways of delegating responsibility such as via a suitable resident group.

I hope that our new Council will decide to appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee tasked with examining MP’s public/private partnerships. The Committee could examine each one to see if the public benefit really exists and to make policy recommendations to council. We need a better framework as to how MP approaches public/private partnerships and fortunately, much online research exists that can provide guidance and a source of ideas.

Posted by Osman Hossain
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Amtrak, Amtrak journeys trains, Caltrains and more

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