$175 Million VTA Extension for Only 200 Passengers

A proposed extension of the VTA light-rail service is high on cost but low on potential passengers

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012  |  Updated 3:01 PM PDT
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Which is cheaper: build a new train line, or buy every would-be passenger a Bentley and full-time driver?

It's the latter, according to critics of the Valley Transportation Authority's proposal to extend its light-rail line to Los Gatos, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"It's crazy," said Dave Fadness, a county transportation commissioner who made the Bentley observation.

The line would extend 1.6 miles from Winchester station to two new stations along Winchester Boulevard, one near Los Gatos Creek Park and the second near Highway 85 and the Netflix headquarters. The cost? $175 million.

New projections from the Valley Transportation Authority showed the extension would serve only 215 new round-trip riders per day. 

It would be the VTA's first extension since 2005 and the first instance of light rail ever in Los Gatos. But it would reduce South Bay traffic by a scant 0.01 percent, the newspaper reported.

Funding for the extension is still uncertain, and is competing with other light-rail extension for dollars. So it may never happen, which would be OK with Fadness.

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