Opponents of BB Hold Press Conference
10/14/14 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning
Opponents of Alameda County’s Measure BB transportation sales tax held a press conference today at the Asian Cultural Center in Oakland. It was covered by three TV crews and print press, including the Chinese language press.
TRANSDEF’s President made these remarks:
The Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) has engaged in flagrant greenwashing. They call this an environmentally sustainable plan. It is true that our environmental colleagues have endorsed this measure. However they didn’t look closely enough at its long-term consequences, because they were overly focused on the short-term. The tax and the related transportation plan are a rejection of responsibility to deal with climate change. That’s not an environmental position.
Page 3-11 of the Alameda Countywide Transportation Plan acknowledges that driving (VMT) in the county will increase by 46%, along with corresponding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Interestingly, their plan shows that there will be more driving if the tax passes than if it doesn’t.
Yet in meeting after meeting after meeting, ACTC representatives repeatedly claim that BB will reduce driving and reduce GHG emissions. These claims are false. ACTC claims that Measure BB will reduce GHG emissions per person by 24%, when it will actually increase GHGs by 31%.
Almost all of the GHG reductions will occur, even if BB does not pass. That’s because of the good work of the federal government and State government in creating rules that reduce emissions. The BB campaign outrageously claims these reductions as the results of the tax. (See the ACTC fact sheet below, which claims “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Decrease with 2014 Plan.”)
Measure BB would allocate $1.8 billion to highway “improvements” virtually all of which would go into arterial and freeway expansion. When highways get bigger people drive more. The real effect of Measure BB would therefore be to increase driving and consequently GHG emissions. County traffic congestion will worsen, especially in towns and cities.
In a crude attempt to hide this unpleasant fact from the voters, the ACTC issued a subsequent report in which the modeling inputs were altered to make the results look better. (See below: “2014 Plan Reduces Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).” Because the plan is still the same, the numbers may look better, but this is purely cosmetic. The tax itself does nothing to reduce driving (VMT), and actually increases driving somewhat.)
As environmentalists, our organization is opposed to locking into place a tax for 30 years that is heading in the wrong direction. The climate change crisis requires bold leadership. Measure BB is not that.