Railyards project receives cash

As reported by the Biz Journal, the city has received an additional $17.9 million in funds tied to the almost $24 billion transportation and infrastructure money approved by us voters in 2006. Construction on the railyards is supposed to begin next year.

The money approved in prop 1B is for “creating infrastructure and affordable housing near transit.” Somewhat ironically, $18 million is exactly the amount Regional Transit expects to lose when the budget is passed. (although by the time the budget is passed we’ll all be tooling around in jet-packs.) Perhaps some of that money can be redirected toward transit near which to build more affordable housing?

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

8 thoughts on “Railyards project receives cash”

  1. That’s kind of the idea. In addition to the existing Sacramento Valley Station, which will be rotated 90 degrees north, there will be a station on Seventh Street in the middle of the Railyards project, and another at Richards (the Township 9 project got money to pay for that station from the same bond.)

    The Railyards project is obligated to follow the city’s affordable housing ordinance, which basically says that 5% of the housing has to be affordable to someone making 80% of median income (for one person, around $39K a year) and 9.5% of the housing has to be affordable for someone making 60% of median income (for one person, around $25K a year.) 0.5% has to be affordable to someone making less than $18K a year (what we’d call “SRO housing” levels of affordability.) The SHRA-planned SRO replacement, slated for the northwest corner of 7th and G Street, is technically within the Railyards project area (although it’s not a site owned by Thomas Enterprises) so it may be counted for that portion of the Railyards’ low-income units.

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  2. Thanks for all the numbers! I guess what I meant is that it is unfortunate that RT service is going to be able to server fewer and fewer citizens elsewhere and yet money is flowing to build transit in a neighborhood that doesn’t exist. What about those of us who you know, live here now?

    By the way when I read “will be rotated 90 degrees north” I thought you were being sarcastic, even though I know you’re right, because it reminded me of Max Fisher’s plans to relocate the baseball field “a few feet over” to make room for the aquarium.

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  3. Rotating the station will be pretty cheap: even though it looks permanent, the current Sac Valley Station is bolted-in panel track that can pretty much be unbolted like a kid’s model train and reconfigured around the curve. They’re doing that because of the track reorientation: they don’t want to park light rail trains in the path of where people will be walking to the trains (and, eventually, inside the new station.) This was the plan from the beginning.

    Building transit to a neighborhood that doesn’t exist yet is *EXACTLY* how it is supposed to be done. It’s a lot cheaper and simpler than building transit through a currently existing neighborhood. North Natomas was supposed to be built with transit first, but they built the housing before the transit…and look what happened! You can’t build “transit-oriented development” without transit.

    As far as RT’s budget goes, the projected service cuts and fee increases are based on the latest version of the budget, and the idea was a lot like State Parks’ reaction to an earlier budget that included park closures. They wanted to send a message–if you cut our funding, the result may be worse for the state than the money saved in the budget.

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  4. Building transit to a neighborhood that doesn’t exist may be exactly how you build transit to a neighborhood that doesn’t exist. But it doesn’t help with the service cuts and fee increases that the rest of RT’s customers are going to feel in the nearer term.

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  5. The hitch there is the difference between infrastructure costs and operating costs. These state grants are used to build infrastructure: new lines, new roads, and the housing that goes with them. Funds for operation are a different pot of money. And yes, it is really damn stupid that the state of California is providing funds for new public transit construction at the same time it is cutting funds for operation of the transit systems we already have. This is because politicians love being able to point at stuff that was built on their watch, while continuing to fund something that already exists doesn’t have nearly the photo-op appeal. Schwartzenegger, ever the style-over-substance guy, is already notorious for this.

    So, really, the situation is simultaneously apples and oranges and a huge pain in the butt.

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  6. Well it’s only apples and oranges in the micro. At the macro level I stand behind my statements. The bottom line for me is that we seem to be paying for transit in a neighborhood that doesn’t exist, while we take money for transit from neighborhoods that do exist. Sure, it’s not in the same action, by the same people, etc. Honestly I don’t care all that much about which money is in which pot. I can’t keep track of that stuff. I leave the ins and outs to the smart people like you who know all the specifics.

    In case that sounded snarky it was not supposed to be: I admit that I have no clue how this stuff actually works. But I don’t think that this means I can’t have an opinion about what happens.

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  7. coolDMZ, I support, acknowledge and applaud your right to have an opinion about stuff you don’t understand. It gives me an excuse to sound like an over-educated stuffed shirt, one of my few pleasures in life.

    One potential bright spot, taking the even more macro view: If we build new transit systems into new communities, and those communities become occupied, heavily transit-oriented neighborhoods, then the next time someone tries to slash transit funds, everyone in those neighborhoods will get pissed off and yell at their congressbeing. Unlike, say, North Natomas, where people for the most part don’t know anyone who takes public transit, and doesn’t care if they slash transit funds to the bone as long as they build more freeway lanes.

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  8. Well thanks! But I would clarify something: I don’t have an opinion about the allocation of the funds or the bureaucratic hows and wherefores pertaining to how the money gets appropriated and funded and Zzzzz. What I do have an opinion about is where the community’s priorities should be. And speaking just for myself here I do think I understand that. 🙂 But yes, whatever lets you sound like a stuffed shirt.

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