Women lead the way on climate policy

A very significant opinion piece by three women leaders suggests that the upcoming San Mateo sales tax needs to acknowledge that the era of highway widening is over: Please urge our county’s Board of Supervisors and the leaders of our transportation agencies to end the cycle of highway widening, and instead, fund projects with this ballot measure that improve mobility without adding polluting car trips. TRANSDEF applauds these leaders for helping the public grasp the seemingly counterintuitive notion that widening highways doesn’t solve congestion. The piece is well-worth reading. Highway widening is controversial up in Portland, where strong dissenting opinions…

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Union leaders and their fantasies

Two union officers penned an opinion piece for the San Mateo Daily Journal that laid out their fantasy for transportation: We can all dream of a future when today’s unbearable traffic congestion is a thing of the past. Traffic would flow freely on Highway 101, Interstate 280, State Route 92 and the Dumbarton corridor because smart, safe, reliable technology will have improved mobility on our traffic corridors, expanded the use of public express buses and maximized the capacity of our highway network. The problem is, their fantasy is actually the unexamined assumption underlying all transportation planning in the U.S. When…

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TRANSDEF on KSRO Radio

TRANSDEF’s David Schonbrunn was on Santa Rosa radio station KSRO to talk about Regional Measure 3. Leading off the segment was a discussion with Jake Mackenzie, a Rohnert Park Councilman and the current chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the MTC in OccupyMTC). In his segment (the lower of the two audio players on the KSRO page), Schonbrunn addressed sprawl growth, Sonoma’s big climate and congestion challenge for the future, and urged a shift of future development to sites near good transit service.

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Chron gives grudging nod to RM3 opposition

The Chronicle’s lead story today, Measure would hike tolls to cut congestion, is a glowing promotion of the benefits of Regional Measure 3. To be able to check the box for journalistic balance, a short section on the opponents is stuck near the very end of the article. This perfunctory treatment, however, is immediately neutralized by MTC spokesmouth Randy Rentschler: Considering all the fixes we need in the Bay Area, there are going to be people upset they don’t get theirs included. I get it. It doesn’t take more than a day driving around in the Bay Area to figure we…

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Who’s paying for the Yes on RM3 Campaign?

The Mercury News published a report on the large contributors to the Yes on RM3 campaign. What’s so interesting about this measure’s sponsors is they’re not the usual group that typically bankrolls transportation funding measures. Usually, it’s contractors seeking to make money on the public projects funded by the measure. This year, however, high-tech firms are leading the charge to charge the public more for using the bridges. Is this public-spirited? Or is it an attempt to distract the public from connecting the dots between the big increase in congestion and the high-tech economic boom? If the public is told, through…

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KPIX Poll Shows Bridge Toll Hike Measure Facing Uphill Battle

A news story on KPIX-TV showed an RM3 commercial in the background, while delivering poll results: According to the exclusive KPIX 5 Survey USA Poll, 40 percent of Bay Area voters support the plan, while 34 percent are against it. Another 26 percent respondents said they weren’t sure. That support is a lot softer than earlier polling, which had made MTC confident enough to try pushing the toll hikes. Host Phil Matier pointed out the overt contradiction between the claim that the measure’s added public transit will reduce traffic and real-world experience: An interesting pitch, considering the poll shows that after all…

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Democrats in Solano Oppose RM3

A letter to the Vallejo Times-Herald announced that “The United Democrats of Southern Solano County voted to oppose Regional Measure 3.” This suggests a significant class division between elected and rank-and-file Democrats.

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Marin Independent Journal Publishes TRANSDEF Opinion Piece

Today’s Marin Independent Journal published  TRANSDEF’s opinion piece explaining how suburban development leads to solo driving, which leads to congestion. This problem is the result of our governance structure: Suburbanization is a piecemeal process, governed by local government. What’s been missed for the past 80 years is the cumulative effect of many thousands of subdivisions in dozens of jurisdictions on the region’s transportation network. That kind of analysis requires regional governance with the power and will to enforce consequences on development that has negative impacts on the region. The editorials opposing Regional Measure 3 by the Mountain View Voice and Palo…

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Mountain View Voice Opposes RM3

The Mountain View Voice published a strong editorial yesterday opposing Regional Measure 3. Its key statement: RM3’s toll increases, along with the implementation of inflation escalators, ask for too much and attempt to leverage the public’s frustration over bad traffic to disproportionately penalize bridge commuters, a small fraction of voters and therefore an easy target. Bay Area business leaders and their advocacy organizations such as Silicon Valley Leadership Group need to work more on the root cause of our transportation problems — the continued approvals of new commercial development on the Peninsula without the housing needed to accommodate the employees. The…

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Peninsula Papers Call RM3 Unfair

In editorial positions that strikingly diverge from the larger newspapers, the San Mateo Daily Journal and Palo Alto Daily Post came out with editorials yesterday opposed to Regional Measure 3.  The Daily Journal captured the heart of the equity issue: A small group of commuters should not be burdened with the cost of transportation improvements that only have a rough connection to the bridges they cross. The rationale reveals a certain amount of creep from the original intent of the tolls, and also a political tactic to get those who do not use the bridges to stick the cost of congestion relief…

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