Friday Ruling in BART Extension Case | NBC Bay Area

Friday Ruling in BART Extension Case

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    Judge rules in BART case

    An Alameda County Superior Court judge Friday refused to issue an  injunction halting funding for a Bay Area Rapid Transit extension to the Warm  Springs district in Fremont.
     
    A lawsuit has been filed by the environmental nonprofit  Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, or TRANSDEF, as well as  two former Bay Area Rapid Transit directors, who claim local transit planning  agencies illegally allocated $315 million to the extension.

    TRANSDEF President David Schonbrunn said today Judge Frank Roesch  ruled not to allow a preliminary injunction on the basis of not proving  irreparable harm.

    "What he said was we didn't meet that standard," said Schonbrunn.

    Schonbrunn said he was still considering taking the case to trial.

    BART plans to build the 5.4-mile extension to a Warm Springs  station at a cost of $890 million, the first step of the BART extension into  Santa Clara County.

    TRANSDEF and former BART directors Sherman Lewis and Roy  Nakadegawa allege in the suit the allocation of $91 million in funds from the  Dumbarton rail project by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, along  with $224 million overseen by the Alameda County Transportation Improvement  Authority, toward the BART project violated voter-approved measures that had  limitations on the use of those funds.

    MTC Chairman and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty today  disputed that claim.

    "The project will live to the spirit of what the voters voted on,"  Haggerty said.

    "I think the judge sees the merits of why we should move forward  with building BART into Santa Clara County," he said.

    Haggerty said an overwhelming majority of voters in both Alameda  and Santa Clara counties had voted in favor of sales tax increases to fund  the BART project.

    Schonbrunn said he supports an extension of rail service to the  South Bay, but not using BART, which he called "ungodly expensive."

    "We just don't think it's worth it," Schonbrunn said. "We can do  far better for much less money."

    Schonbrunn said he would prefer conventional rail technologies  that can be upgraded to high-speed rail.

    "BART is unique and extremely efficient," Haggerty maintained. "I  certainly would support BART over any dirty, diesel-type locomotive option."

    "The amount of pollutants reduced from the air because of BART are  quite extraordinary, and go a long way in reducing greenhouse gases and also  congestion on our highways," Haggerty said.