In a highly unusual agenda item, the Cupertino City Council discussed the flaws in Regional Measure 3 and voted to oppose it. They will send a letter to other elected officials, informing them of their reasons for doing so. The item starts with public testimony on the measure, led off by TRANSDEF. Councilmember Steven Scharf offered a striking slide presentation. Vice-Mayor Rod Sinks presented a passionate and thorough recounting of the promises to Cupertino that have been broken by VTA. Councilmember Barry Chang urged the Council to take a leadership role in opposing the measure. Finally, the Council formulated its final motions and voted on them.
Cupertino has a history of leadership in transportation. The City of Cupertino’s animated film “Silicon Valley’s Transportation Future” is a brilliant explication of the key decision in transportation planning: whether to prioritize supporting solo drivers or transit. Regional Measure 3 commits scarce system expansion funds to road capacity projects called Express Lanes, the formula for gridlock in the long term.
Here is a summary of the Council’s criticisms of the measure:
- It ignores the causes and solutions of gridlock.
- It doesn’t fund affordable transportation options.
- It has no transit to housing-rich areas, especially where there is affordable housing.
- It encourages more solo driving by funding High-Occupancy Toll lanes, which will worsen congestion. They are not a solution for gridlock.
- It does not address the commute problems of North County. All the funding goes to San Jose.
- It is unfair that Santa Clara County residents, who rarely use bridges, can vote to raise tolls on others.
- The funding model is unfair and regressive.
- The toll increase is not limited to $3.00. Inflation would make tolls much higher.
- A payroll tax would be much more fair than sales taxes and bridge toll increases.
- The measure is promoted by the corporations that created the gridlock, but don’t want to help pay to solve it.
Fairness in Process
- Our cities were not given an opportunity to suggest how the money would be spent. The VTA Board never discussed the allocation formula. There was no transparency.
- Promises made for bus service on Hwy 85, serving Cupertino and West Valley cities, were not kept. Funding for the Hwy 85 study is now being withheld.