Aug 2013

A New Section: Marin County

TRANSDEF has been actively involved in the Greenbrae Corridor Improvement Project Advisory Committee, which has been meeting to develop a consensus on what to do instead of the soundly rejected $143 million Highway 101 project in the Larkspur/Corte Madera area. TRANSDEF submitted four proposals to the public input process, which are available on TRANSDEF’s Marin County page.

In its August 26 meeting, the Committee approved a consensus plan including the following elements that had been proposed by TRANSDEF: a North-South bikeway on the railroad trestle, if feasible; improved merging of E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. with I-580; and an added eastbound lane on E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Marin County has become known lately for very vocal opposition to the Bay Area’s regional plan. TRANSDEF published an opinion piece on recent
overreactions to regional planning. In an effort to foster an informed dialogue over housing issues, the Marin County League of Women Voters has published Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Affordable Housing.

We Lost One of the Greats: Roy Nakadegawa

Roy Nakadegawa was a founding Board member of TRANSDEF. He contributed his vast experience in public transit and his financial support to our small non-profit’s efforts to focus Bay Area transportation planning on cost-effectiveness. Our goal was public transit investments that benefit many more residents.

Roy agreed to put himself forward, along with fellow former BART Director Sherman Lewis, as a named plaintiff in
a suit brought by TRANSDEF to stop MTC from moving funds from the proposed Dumbarton Rail Project to the BART Warm Springs project. TRANSDEF vehemently opposed this billion dollar wasteful project. In agreeing to do so, Roy truly walked his talk.

TRANSDEF is very grateful for Roy’s assistance over the years and offers its condolences to his large family. We will miss him.

Joint Statement by AC Transit and BART

Former AC Transit and BART director Roy Nakadegawa passed away last Friday morning, August 23, 2013, at his home in Berkeley. Mr. Nakadegawa had been suffering from congestive heart failure for some time.

Mr. Nakadegawa served on the AC Transit Board for 20 years, from 1972 to 1992. He then served on the BART Board for 12 years from 1992 to 2004.
After he left the BART Board, he joined the Board of TRANSDEF (Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund), a non-profit environmental organization created by transit activists to advocate for better solutions to transportation, land use and air quality problems in the San Francisco Bay Area. In all those positions he argued for cost-effective, mobility improving transit.

Mr. Nakadegawa was an active attendee and participant in TRB (Transportation Research Board) meetings and was well known and respected around the world for his depth of knowledge about transit and its relation to land use. He was written up in the local press for the frugality of his travel arrangements. When Mr. Nakadegawa served as an AC Transit directors, its members got an annuity when they left the Board. For many years, Mr. Nakadegawa generously donated his annuity payments to buy prizes for AC Transit's local bus rodeo winners.

Validation: It's a Funny Concept

Fearing an infinite number of lawsuits challenging the issuance of High-Speed Rail bonds, the California High-Speed Rail Authority filed an arcane legal maneuver in the Sacramento Superior Court, seeking to force anyone wanting to sue to put up or shut up. The maneuver is called a Validation Suit. After the Authority has filed its Opening Brief, it asks all persons that are interested in challenging the issuance of bonds to come forward to file an Objection. After the Authority files a reply brief, the Court will then rule on whether challenges to the issuance of bonds are forever banned.

An especially fascinating aspect to this validation suit is that the defendants are identified as “All Persons Interested in the Matter of the Validity of the Authorization and Issuance of General Obligation Bonds to be Issued Pursuant to the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century, and Certain Proceedings and Matters Related Thereto.”

Interestingly, the Authority asserts that a validation ruling will not affect the ability of a taxpayers’ suit to challenge the expenditure of bond funds.

here to see the major papers filed in the case.

Killer Ruling on HSR Compliance

Court Rules High-Speed Rail Not Compliant with Bond Measure

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny issued a ruling Friday that the Funding Plan for the $8 billion High-Speed Rail project in the Central Valley is legally defective because it fails to meet the requirements of Proposition 1A, the High-Speed Rail Bond measure. The landmark case, Tos v. California High-Speed Rail Authority, was filed by a farmer, a rural homeowner and Kings County.

The Court agreed that the Authority’s Funding Plan failed to validly certify that for the Merced to San Fernando Valley segment of the project, all environmental clearances had been completed and that sufficient funding sources to complete the segment had been identified. Further briefing was ordered to determine the appropriate remedy.


HSRA seeks federal protection from lawsuits

The California High-Speed Rail Authority filed a brief today asking the State Court of Appeal to dismiss the Atherton petitioners’ appeal on the grounds that the federal Surface Transportation Board had asserted federal jurisdiction over its project.

This brief involved a massive amount of gall, seeing as the High-Speed Rail Authority had not applied to the STB for permission to construct its project until very recently, long after all the briefing in this case had been filed. All materials related to the appeal are available

Is California Serious about Reducing GHGs?

The Air Resources Board is updating its Scoping Plan, California’s master strategy to reduce greenhouse gases under AB 32. TRANSDEF submitted a wide-ranging set of suggestions which emphasized the need for the Board to set stringent regional greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, required under SB 375, that will achieve lower emissions from cars and light trucks. The targets set by the Board in 2010 were per capita numbers that, because they were lower than the rate of population growth, lead to increases in GHGs, contrary to the intent of SB 375.