By Robert Haugh
In July, The Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury body slammed the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).
They wrote a report that documented how the VTA is the worst transit agency in the nation.
They even showed it to us in charts like this one:
Now, the VTA has responded to the Grand Jury. It’s short but it’s not sweet. The VTA response is basically ‘thanks, but no thanks” to the recommendations.
Here’s an example. The Grand Jury made this finding:
VTA continues to consider an extension of VTA’s light rail system to the Eastridge Transit Center, at an additional capital cost of over $450 million, although VTA’s light rail system is one of the most expensive, heavily subsidized and least used light rail systems in the country, many transit experts consider light rail obsolete, and VTA is suffering from chronic structural deficits that would be exacerbated by the continuation of the project as currently defined.
Wow. That’s a pretty serious finding. But here’s VTA’s response:
VTA disagrees with the finding. The Eastridge to BART Regional Connector has been approved by the voters and the Board. See response for Recommendation 5a for more details…
The recommendation has been implemented. Prior to this recommendation, the Board initiated a review of light rail technology due to the anticipated cost of necessary upgrades and replacements for the existing system.
Huh? So you may be right, but we’re going to build it anyway. And we’re going to upgrade it, too.
You can read the full VTA response to the Grand Jury report here. It was signed by Santa Clara City Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill. She is also the VTA board chair this year. It’s dated September 13, 2019.
It’s a disappointing response. When you’re really bad at what you do, you should welcome advice. Or you should at least take a Grand Jury report seriously.
Since the Grand Jury report, Santa Clarans have shared with us their experience and opinions of VTA. It’s not good. We’ve received some info about staff salaries and bus lines. So we’ll be writing about those issues in the future.