Sad day for RM3 litigation

The First District Court of Appeal handed down its decision today, affirming the lower court’s dismissal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s challenge to the Bay Area Toll Authority’s Regional Measure 3 (RM3). The decision, which echoed the detailed textual analysis of the trial court’s decision, had one new significant element. Another panel of the same appellate court had recently ruled on a very similar matter. The Zolly court ruled that Proposition 26 placed the burden on the state or local agency imposing a purported fee to demonstrate its reasonableness in relation to the value received by the fee payor.…

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TRANSDEF’s first thoughts on the Megameasure

TRANSDEF had a complicated reaction to the announcement of the proposed Megameasure. (All quotes referred to are contained in that post.) Service considerations We like the focus on world-class transit, but don’t trust that the sponsors of the measure mean the same thing we do. They have no prior history of supporting the cost-effective transit we support. To our knowledge, they have only supported the expensive brands of transit: BART and high-speed rail. Because the fundamental transportation problem of the Bay Area is too many cars on the roads, a solution viable for the long term must facilitate car-free living. That means…

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A Primer on the Megameasure

Rumors have been circulating for months that the Bay Area Council (BAC), the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) and SPUR were quietly floating a proposal for a $50 – 100 billion dollar revenue measure, known colloquially as the Megameasure. The groups finally went public in early June, with extensive press coverage: Mega-measure: $100 billion traffic-busting tax plan for the Bay Area taking shape A multi-billion-dollar ‘mega measure’ to fix Bay Area traffic for good heading your way The groups held their first public briefing on their proposal at the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s workshop: Notable Highlights: At 2:26–But now, we…

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MTC Caught Red-Handed in Regional Measure 3 Campaign Violations

TRANSDEF today filed a Complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) alleging that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and BATA, its alter ego, illegally expended public resources to promote passage of Regional Measure 3 (RM3). In addition, the Complaint alleges that MTC/BATA illegally coordinated with the Yes on RM3 campaign, engaged in impermissible express advocacy, and then failed to report these efforts as campaign expenditures. Exactly one year ago today, voters gave a 55% approval to RM3, a bridge toll increase expected to raise $4.5 billion. While the first of three increases has already gone into effect, the funds…

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Here’s why MTC is a policy failure

By a convenient coincidence, The Chronicle published a chart entitled The Bay Area’s 11 biggest transportation projects that provides graphic proof of policy failure. A quick look at the list of projects is enough to show the absence of a coordinated strategy. What stands out instead is the prominence of extremely expensive yet low-public-benefit projects that are being pushed by powerful economic and political interests: Central Subway BART extension to San Jose Caltrain electrification An even bigger push from the Bay Area Council and others is promoting a project many times more expensive than anything that has ever been attempted…

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New data: MTC still a policy failure

A updating of data of the chart on our Bay Area Basics page shows that MTC is continuing to fail at fostering any kind of change in Bay Area travel habits. As a result, the total amount of driving, VMT, has more than doubled since 1980. That’s why the roads keep feeling more crowded. They are! Note in particular the flat VMT per capita trace, indicating no change in the propensity to drive. This is the direct result of MTC’s failure to supply alternatives to driving. Despite spending many billions of dollars on BART extensions, total transit ridership actually dropped…

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San Diego Can’t Hit State Climate Goals Without Major Transportation Changes

The Voice of San Diego reported on a refreshing statement of the obvious as to the level of changes needed in the county’s transportation planning to meet State climate goals: The region simply can’t meet state requirements for thwarting climate change the way things are and the way they’re headed, Hasan Ikrhata, director of the San Diego Association of Governments, said at a Friday board meeting. Even if the region built the trolley lines and bus services leaders have been discussing, it would not change enough. Either state law would have to change, or regional leaders need to reimagine plans…

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MTC shows its true colors: Executive Director search process

The agenda for the October 24 Executive Director Selection Committee discloses all one needs to know about the approach being taken by the Committee. The only items on the agenda are the roll call, a mandatory opportunity for public comment, a closed session and a report-out. All the signs are there that a back-room deal is being cut for the most important hire for the future of the Bay Area. This is just the way it was done when Steve Heminger was appointed many years ago. A hire from the inside, with no national search process is what happened then…

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The future of transportation in the Bay Area is up for grabs

An article by Erin Baldassari, “Bridge toll hike is ‘first step’ in solving Bay Area’s traffic woes, experts say” points out just how expensive proposed future transportation fixes will be. However, a strikingly insightful column by Daniel Borenstein, Toll hike vote indicates Bay Area struggles ahead, suggests that the Bay Area’s policy leaders will not be able to enact these programs because voters will not fund them. This is an acknowledgement of the public’s lack of confidence in MTC, an agency that has intentionally remained unknown by the larger public. That begs the question of whether we will all drown in…

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