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By Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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Menlo Park ? Close to the Action

Uploaded: Sep 24, 2014
Local ballot measures are splendid, but much of Menlo Park's future is decided elsewhere...such as San Francisco, where our transportation growth currently hangs in the balance. Bringing Caltrain into the city's Financial District made sense decades ago. Today, the region's economic growth coupled with an explosion in transit ridership, make it essential. But political battles around San Francisco's new Transbay Center could derail this plan – and as the Bay Area booms, Menlo Park will suffer.

At issue is a tax deal high-rise developers made with the City of San Francisco. Actually, this represents a very modern way of financing urban infrastructure. Crossrail, the 25-mile train line being tunneled under London, was largely bankrolled by global financial firms such as Barclays, Lloyds, Goldman Sachs and so on. The Caltrain Extension taxes big property speculators to generate matching funds for federal grants.

Watch this story. The Peninsula isn't building any more freeways. But it keeps building jobs, and our future belongs to a fast, efficient Caltrain. Extending a rail tunnel to the city's Financial District, along with Market/SoMa businesses and the Transbay Center, will keep Menlo Park close to the action.
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