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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We Don’t Need More Infrastructure — We Need Congestion Pricing

Streetsblog covered the release of an important study by Brookings titled Local Transportation Policy and Economic Opportunity, which is far more exciting than its title would suggest. The study provided the basis for Streetsblog’s provocative title, We Don’t Need More Infrastructure — We Need Congestion Pricing: The U.S. does not need to build more highways — it needs to spend more on aging urban rail systems and use congestion pricing to ease gridlock in urban areas, a new report shows.   … “Claims about the dilapidation of U.S. transportation infrastructure should be regarded with a critical eye,” says Turner.  

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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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Strong Towns offers important insights on congestion

The Strong Towns website has posted a series of important articles on congestion. Taken together, they frame how public agencies in California and the U.S. have been doggedly heading in the wrong direction in transportation and land use planning. Here’s a sampling: The Causes of Traffic and Congestion, addresses the question of whether new development causes more traffic. Here is its excellent summary: Development can add traffic. However, development that brings amenities and people closer together and reduces the need to travel so far can actually reduce traffic. With a mixture of uses, you can achieve a high population density…

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ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed

ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed 04/10/17 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning | High-Speed Rail The Air Resources Board produces a Scoping Plan every 5 years. It is the guiding document for the GHG emissions reductions needed to implement  California’s climate policy. TRANSDEF submitted a massive comment set, made up of: 1). General Comments; 2). VMT Reduction Comments, Attachment: Comments on State-wide Strategies; 3). Environmental Assessment Comments, Attachment: Comments on CHSRA 2016 Business Plan; and 4). Comments on Regional Emissions Reduction Targets. For more climate change resources, see this page. Tags: Highway Widening, HOT, HOV, CEQA, Carbon Tax, Induced Demand

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CA is not Serious about VMT Reduction

CA is not Serious about VMT Reduction 02/05/17 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning TRANSDEF’s organizational focus is the reduction of GHG emissions from transportation. Much of our work has involved the state’s policy-setting agency for climate change, the California Air Resources Board, or ARB. ARB has produced generally excellent climate change plans, called Scoping Plans. However, it has consistently been weak in the area of reducing GHG emissions from transportation, despite determining that nearly half of the state’s GHG emissions are generated by the transportation sector. TRANSDEF suspects that high-level officials in state government are unwilling to take…

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TRANSDEF Opposes VTA Sales Tax Measure B

TRANSDEF Opposes VTA Sales Tax Measure B 09/04/16 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning The TRANSDEF Board has voted to formally oppose the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA’s) transportation sales tax Measure. We have No Confidence in VTA. Check out the websites of our allies Sierra Club and BayRail Alliance! Measure B would double VTA’s sales tax. This is intolerable, when the Measure fails in three distinct policy areas: BART to San Jose and Santa Clara is a horribly wasteful and ineffective response to the commuting challenges of Santa Clara County residents. The continued funding of highways is ultimately futile, as congestion will merely continue to get worse. See this study…

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TRANSDEF Opposes CCTA Sales Tax Measure X

TRANSDEF Opposes CCTA Sales Tax Measure X 09/04/16 Filed in: Transportation Planning | Climate Change The TRANSDEF Board has voted to formally oppose Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s (CCTA’s) transportation sales tax measure. Our ballot arguments were selected to be the Oppose position in the Voter Guide. Our campaign website  was posted today. Tags: Contra Costa, Highway Widening, Tax, Congestion

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MTC Wants to Bury Dumbarton Rail

MTC Wants to Bury Dumbarton Rail 05/10/14 Filed in: MTC | Transportation Planning | High-Speed Rail The staff report for MTC’s Planning and Allocations meeting, Wednesday, May 14 at 9:40 am lays out MTC’s plans to bury the Dumbarton Rail project. Transit advocates have often noted that this project is the only possible way to avoid the cost of a new multibillion Transbay tunnel to deal with the lack of capacity in BART’s Transbay tube. On April 23, TRANSDEF filed comments [this file without exhibits] with MTC, asserting legal arguments for why the proposed elimination of Regional Measure 2 funding for the Dumbarton Rail Project would be both illegal and unwise. [Comment file with…

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Multiple Suits Challenge Plan Bay Area

Multiple Suits Challenge Plan Bay Area 09/01/13 Filed in: MTC | Transportation Planning | Climate Change Multiple lawsuits were filed, challenging the FEIR for the Bay Area’s regional plan under CEQA. Interestingly, they attack the plan from different directions: The Sierra Club/Communities for a Better Environment suit seeks a reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution that affects communities of color in West Oakland. The “Bay Area Citizens” suit is a right-wing challenge to what it views as an assault on Americans’ God-given right to live in suburbs. The Building Industry Association suit makes interesting claims that have never been litigated: that the regional plan violates SB 375 by not providing for feasible levels of…

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