Measure B would double VTA’s sales tax. This is intolerable, when the Measure fails in three distinct policy areas:
- BART to San Jose and Santa Clara is a horribly wasteful and ineffective response to the commuting challenges of Santa Clara County residents.
- The continued funding of highways is ultimately futile, as congestion will merely continue to get worse. See this study to learn how highway widening increases greenhouse gases over the long run.
- While Silicon Valley desperately needs great transit, VTA continues to operate a hopelessly ineffective transit system. Its plans allocate little of the Measure A proceeds to an Santa Clara County transit network.
Testimony to ARB on Regional GHG Emissions Reduction Targets: “These targets will result in increased emissions in this sector, due to population growth. This is going in the wrong direction, and would send the wrong signal to the rest of the world about ARB's view of the need for urgent reductions in GHG emissions.”
ARB’s 2013 Scoping Plan Update: “Staff recognizes the need for "Fundamental transformation of transportation system needed to meet goals" but seems to have little grasp of the institutional barriers to that transformation.” Read More...
TRANSDEF wrote a series of letters praising the Plan and suggesting improvements. They include overview comments, detailed comments, and their attachments. Streetsblog wrote an excellent article covering the Plan. Read More...
Our comments addressed the ongoing problem with large transportation projects: they promise too much and deliver too little, at a vastly higher price than initially promised. We wrote up a case study of MTC which we called Politics Trumps Outcomes that identifies the politicization of project selection as the root reason why the Bay Area has lower transit ridership now than it did thirty years ago.
TRANSDEF’s President was the only member of the public to speak on the item. His suggestion that the District show leadership on climate change by encouraging its passengers to arrive at the Ferry Terminal by ways other than solo driving was ignored by the Committee. The text of his comments follows. Read More...
Alameda County, like other transportation agencies, finds it more comfortable and less controversial to continue doing what it has always done: focus its efforts on a network of roads and highways that predominantly serve single-occupant vehicles. While the current proposal has funding for transit and bike facilities, the underlying focus hasn’t changed at all. The County’s Transportation Plan predicts a 46% increase in Vehicle Miles Travelled in 2035, with a slight increase if the tax measure passes. (A later ACTIA document adjusted that figure downwards to “only” a 26% increase, but that drop had little or nothing to do with the tax. Most of that adjustment had to do with correcting the assumptions for modeling.) Single-occupant driving is barely affected by the Transportation Plan and tax.
Until TRANSDEF sees a serious effort to make carpooling, transit and biking the predominant ways to get around, we will oppose such measures. Read More...
TRANSDEF’s attorney, Stuart Flashman, commented: “As a former scientist, I was disappointed that ARB ignored the scientific evidence. The huge spike in cement production needed to build all the viaducts and trackways for the Governor’s high-speed rail line will result in greenhouse gas emissions far outstripping any potential benefit from the line. Including high-speed rail in the Scoping Plan runs directly counter to the legislature’s intent in AB 32 and violates the direct mandate of the law." Read More...
The Sierra Club/Communities for a Better Environment suit seeks a reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution that affects communities of color in West Oakland. The “Bay Area Citizens” suit is a right-wing challenge to what it views as an assault on Americans’ God-given right to live in suburbs. The Building Industry Association suit makes interesting claims that have never been litigated: that the regional plan violates SB 375 by not providing for feasible levels of housing for the entire population of the Bay Area, including in-commuters from the Central Valley.
For the associated documents, see the bottom of this page.
Independently of anything the regional agencies do, the nine-county Bay Area is growing in population and getting wealthier, so, inevitably, it is changing. That means that the region is in transition. The aspect that concerns us is a needed transition from the present land use/mobility system to a new one.
The old, existing system is based on the single-family house, the personal automobile and the freeway. It handles growth mainly through outward spatial diffusion, or sprawl. It has grown up over decades, and has become our thoroughly familiar environment. We have all deeply adapted to it. It is individualistic, and not egalitarian. Growing up in times of economic success and prosperity, it offers what people believe is freedom. Therefore, on the basis of inertia alone, the traditional layout has support from the very large share of the population (and public and private administrative structures) that are comfortable in it and who want to preserve what is known and good. Read More...
These may possibly be the first mitigations in California imposed specifically for GHG impacts. Check out the Press Democrat story.
TRANSDEF’s Comments to the
Transportation Authority of Marin
Regional Transportation Plan Discussion, 10-27-11
You have the authority to set a
very new direction for transportation in this county.
But you would never know it by reading the staff
report. Judging by the report, this agenda item
appears to be just another routine item.
The whole point of this agenda item last month had been to ask you what weight to give to each of the RTP candidate priority criteria. But that focus has been buried. It isn't at all clear what you are expected to do with this item. If you had been properly briefed by staff, you would recognize this item as the ultimate transportation policy setting discussion.
In my view, this is yet another in a long history of presentations shaped to maintain the status quo. TAM's predecessor agency had an ugly practice of keeping decision makers in the dark, so as to have staff positions rubber-stamped.
Upon noticing that the Clean Air Plan would result in excessive particulate matter in the air, TRANSDEF’s President David Schonbrunn spoke to the Board of Directors and suggested that a mitigation be adopted to reduce the source of growing particulate pollution: motor vehicles. Read More...
These revisions will result in environmental impact reports that evaluate greenhouse gas emissions. They will also result in obstacles to projects that would add pollution to over-burdened environmental justice communities. TRANSDEF is generally supportive of the leadership the District is offering in this area.