San Francisco’s planned high-speed rail station in the new Transbay Terminal would be obsolete within two decades, state transportation officials warn, forcing them to rethink the design.
The proposed station would not be large enough to accommodate half the passengers expected to be using the system by 2030. In addition, the current scheme poses engineering challenges for a Caltrain extension to the Transbay Terminal downtown, officials said.
“Three sets of engineers met and they concurred that the design for the station was inadequate and useless for high-speed rail,” said Quentin Kopp, chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority.
The problems have transportation officials scrambling to find fixes to assure that the rail projects don’t miss out on federal stimulus funds.
The emergency funding bill contains an unprecedented $8 billion for high-speed and intercity rail projects. President Obama indicated in his proposed budget last week that he would like to pump a further $1 billion annually over the next five years into such projects. The windfall provides opportunities that even the most optimistic rail supporters didn’t envision.