This site is where TRANSDEF posts recent developments in High-Speed Rail, Climate Change and Bay Area Transportation. It contains our materials going back to 2009.
What’s On the Site
We cover transportation items in the news, or that should be in the news. We offer extensive resources on California High-Speed Rail, including a complete set of the documents filed in lawsuits against the California High-Speed Rail Authority (other than those filed challenging Central Valley EIRs).
TRANSDEF offers a repository of ideas on how to achieve a better and more sustainable future by shifting where transportation funding goes. We start with our highest-priority project, fighting the current high-speed rail project. We then go to Bay Area Basics and then go to a survey of Bay Area Regional Transportation Plans and propose a plan for the Bay Area. We then look at the individual elements that comprise an optimal plan: the folly of BART extensions, the inadvisability of Highway widening, and the need to do all of this in the context of climate change. This suite of information is capped off with a Resources page, and a way to contact us.
Who We Are
The Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, known as TRANSDEF, is 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.
TRANSDEF promotes cost-effective transit, Smart Growth, and market-based pricing as fiscally and environmentally preferable responses to traffic congestion. These strategies represent a major departure from the prevailing policy climate of suburban sprawl, ever-widening highways and overwhelming dependence on the private automobile. We are especially focused on transportation solutions that reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, which cause climate change.
What We Do
TRANSDEF’s activists were concerned about the long-term trend toward traffic congestion, loss of open space and overall deterioration of the quality of life of the much beloved Bay Area. With millions of new residents coming to, or being born in the region, it was clear that living here was likely to become ever more unpleasant if current development trends continued.
We decided to focus our efforts on the obscure regional agency that administers all federal and state funds for Bay Area transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). We figured that the billions of dollars that flow through MTC could be the key to shifting the region’s development pattern to a more sustainable direction. See OccupyMTC.
When Commissioners were unwilling to consider any of what we had to say, we recognized that the only way to get through to them would be via litigation. Check out our Litigation Report for details of the cases that predated this website. One of our cases held up $9+ billion in federal funds to MTC for over 6 months. That failed to bring about any changes in agency behavior. Our TCM 2 case would have made MTC accountable for results, had the trial court decision not been overturned by the vote of a George Bush-appointed judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.
Two decades later, MTC is now tepidly supporting Smart Growth. While TRANSDEF is gratified to see MTC move in the direction of making better decisions with its vast financial resources, the pace and magnitude of change have been painfully slow. Even with a heightened awareness of the importance of global warming, MTC and the rest of California are still moving ahead with fully funded projects to widen highways, in the futile attempt to “relieve congestion.” In short, the state’s transportation establishment has refused to take responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles, the largest category source of GHGs in California.
Even worse, the California Air Resources Board has ducked its responsibility to require meaningful reductions in GHG emissions from the transportation sector. See our Climate Change page.