Thursday, June 12, 2008
We Got Fleeced by the Sprinter!
13th Annual Golden Watchdog & Golden Fleece Awards
GRAND GOLDEN FLEECE: North County Transit District - Sprinter
Planning for the Sprinter rail by the North County Transit District began in 1990, with an original estimated cost of $60 million. Hampered by a seemingly endless series of delays, fiscal problems and technical issues, the total cost of the Sprinter amounted to nearly half a billion dollars. Amazingly, after receiving a $160,000 fine for sediment pollution to surrounding water bodies, the Transit District was fined an additional $685,000 for repeatedly ignoring the same issue. Three different projected start dates for operations came and went because of faulty signal systems for traffic gates and the failure of an inspection by the California Public Utilities Commission. Faulty design problems delayed work even further, and the Transit District paid $12.2 million in a settlement with West Coast Rail Constructors for the resulting waiting period in addition to $18.1 million in change orders. And that's not all…the rail has failed to significantly reduce traffic on Highway 78; a trip on the Sprinter from Oceanside to Escondido takes longer than driving. Other Sprinter benefits include new traffic delays at train crossings and a lack of sufficient parking for riders at several stops. Even better, while intended to increase the overall use of public transit, many Sprinter passengers were previously Breeze bus riders whose routes were canceled upon completion of the rail.
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“This milestone brings us one step closer to SPRINTER operations and realizing our ultimate dream of moving more people in and around North County,” said Jerome Stocks, NCTD Chair. “The SPRINTER vehicles are representative of the quality of this new transportation project for North County – they are well made, sleek, modern and efficient. I am pleased to have been part of such a great investment on the part of our community.” Stocks, a City of Encinitas Councilmember, also represents NCTD on the SANDAG Board of Directors. source
Encinitas Taxpayers Association Sprinter postings.
*Blogger's note-I kinda like the Sprinter, I think it looks neat.