Press Coverage on the Valley Link lawsuit

The Tracy Press carried a front page article on the Valley Link lawsuit on Friday, May 27. Another version is available here. The story covered the key contention being asserted: The project goes far beyond what the Legislature authorized. In addition, it covered the Tracy-specific issue of the Authority going to the Legislature to overrule the voters of Tracy.

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Non-profits sue to stop the Valley Link rail project

On Monday, May 23, two non-profit organizations filed an amended taxpayer lawsuit against the Valley Link project, which proposes to build a $3.6 billion dollar rail line connecting the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and North Lathrop in San Joaquin County. The largest project cost element is the demolition and relocation of the I-580 freeway to make room for the tracks. Over a billion dollars would be wasted tearing up eleven miles of recently built freeway, adding no transportation capacity in itself. David Schonbrunn, President of the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF) stated that “We want to nip this in…

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Challenge to MTC’s funding of parking garage

In 2016, BART was under pressure from local residents to build another parking garage at the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. TRANSDEF responded with a 2017 letter, challenging the environmental review.  BART decided in 2017 to not proceed with the project. Republican Assemblywoman Catharine Baker then cut a deal with the Brown Administration (reportedly in exchange for her vote on the Cap and Trade bill) to give a $20 million grant to the garage project. A grant was then dutifully made by the State Transportation Agency, CalSTA, from its Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, which is funded by the GHG Cap…

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RM3 now before CA Supreme Court–Update 1

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court in August 2020. The Petition asserts that prior to Proposition 26, a clear body of law differentiated between taxes and fees. Whereas the Proposition was enacted to close several loopholes, the Court of Appeal decision opened up a brand-new huge loophole that would allow any fee for access to public property to be imposed without a two-thirds vote. In addition, the Petition points out that a different division of the same Court of Appeal had issued a ruling (Zolly v. City of Oakland) that…

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Brighter days for RM3 litigation?

Appellant Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a Petition for Rehearing with the Court of Appeal.  Although the Petition offered a brilliant new argument, the Court denied the petition. It is expected that the Appellant will seek review by the California Supreme Court.

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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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