Second BART Tunnel Under the San Francisco Bay Gets Renewed Attention
By: Parker Burnell
Source: Associated Press. "Second BART Tunnel under Bay Gets Renewed Attention." Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register. Visalia Times Delta, 1 Feb. 2015. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
Summary: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and many bay area citizens in California are pushing for a second tunnel under the bay to make Bart transit easier and more efficient. The Bart transport system is completely full in present day, and the only way to solve this problem and make the whole program smoother is to consult building another tunnel for more trains. Recently, Bart has had problems with the trains stalling while in the tunnel, or other electrical problems. However, if another “Transbay Tube” is established, Bart could offer 24 hour service and make the system’s capacity much greater. Many people see the construction of the second tube as an inevitable thing, but others are worried about the environmental impact that the construction and usage of the tube might have on the Bay and it’s inhabitants. Unfortunately, this entire process would cost around $12 billion, proving the price to be a major obstacle in front of the tunnel’s supporters. Many people believe that the tunnel would easily pay for it’s cost of construction, because with more trains going back and forth, more people will be able to travel to their jobs and back, stimulating the bay area economy just a little bit more than before. The tunnel is a big commitment, and if it was built the process would start around 2017. Until then, “Bart right now is looking at other ways to increase capacity and deal with overcrowding” (Trost 1).
Ethical Issues: This decision by the Mayor and community of San Francisco could be unjust because he doesn’t necessarily know the affect that a second tunnel could have. By building this tunnel he is neglecting parts of our bay area environment that have clear intrinsic value, such as animals that could be affected by the construction.An entire ecosystem could be disrupted by the construction and usage of these tunnels. Unfortunately, the potential destruction of this ecosystem is the price we pay for developing an area to it’s fullest extent. When humans expand infrastructure, it is an almost inevitable outcome to hurt nature in some way, shape, or form. It’s up to us, the people, to decide whether the outcomes of our decisions make the potential environmental destruction worth it. We can’t forget the effects of our actions, and what we can cause by acting unethically or unjustly. I think If I had to suggest anything to the Mayor or to the construction officials of this future project, I would tell them to take every step possible to ensure that no animals or parts of nature are harmed. The only justifiable way to build this tunnel is to make sure that nothing is harmed in the process.
Personal Stance: I believe that building the tunnel is worth it, but only if we can build it in a sustainable and safe way that is both beneficial to the environment and humans alike. I think that although we may risk potentially hurting the environment and the animal inhabitants of the bay when making this environmental decision, there are also many economic and environmental benefits that can be gained by this new tunnel. For example, Bart is a public transportation system with a good cause. When people take Bart, they are avoiding the usage of cars (or simply don't own one) and avoiding polluting the air. Most people who take Bart are committing themselves to a more sustainable way of travel. They are also contributing to reducing the amount of car traffic present in the Bay Area (which is already way too much). If a new tunnel were to be built, even more consumers would be able to have access to sustainable and efficient transportation, which would help the environment a lot more than if all those people were forced to drive cars instead because there wasn't enough room on Bart. In conclusion, I think that the second tunnel would help Bay Area inhabitants get around easier and more efficiently with minimal effects on the environment.
Question to the group: The new proposed Bart tube would cost around $12 billion. Do you think that this tunnel is worth the cost considering the environmental and economic benefits that may come out of it?