California’s plan to make San Jose the state’s transportation capital needs an overhaul

This twist on Dionne Warwick’s hit might be the most important question facing government transportation. Because plans to bring California into the 21st century depend on turning the city of 1 million into our state’s railroad capital.

But can these plans stay the course?

Why San Jose? Because it’s home to Diridon Station, a Renaissance Revival station where the past, present and future of California transportation converge.

The high-speed rail plan envisages Diridon as perhaps the most important hub where regional rail lines bound for San Francisco meet bullet trains bound for Fresno, Bakersfield, and eventually Los Angeles. Diridon is already the western terminus of the Altamont Corridor Express trains serving Stockton and is planned to be expanded throughout the Central Valley. And it’s the southern terminus of Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor service to Sacramento.

Diridon is also a Bay Area connector. It is a hub for the Caltrain service from San Francisco across the peninsula to Gilroy. It is a key stop on the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority light rail system. And it’s a goal of decades of multibillion-dollar efforts to bring BART to downtown San Jose.

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