RM3 now before CA Supreme Court

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court today. 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 that was opposite to the RM3 ruling, creating…

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Post-election counting widens RM3 margin

The votes counted after Election day have swung more in support of Regional Measure 3. Recent reports from all counties other than Sonoma (shown in yellow) have updated their election night results. The margin of victory has widened to 10 points. This margin came entirely from Santa Clara and San Franciso Counties, neither of which uses bridges much.

Continue reading

The problems endemic in Bay Area transportation

Posted on our website is a large body of work that speaks to the problems endemic in the world of transportation: 1. The politicization of the distribution of funding. Public agencies are heavily influenced by self-interested entities that do not care about the effectiveness of projects for the larger public. Even though MTC spends massive amounts of money, it is so poorly spent (think the Bay Bridge East Span) that the public gets relatively little benefit out of it. The process most definitely does not function to maximize public benefits. Cost-effectiveness is not even among MTC’s top10 considerations. The ability…

Continue reading

The future of transportation in the Bay Area is up for grabs

An article by Erin Baldassari, “Bridge toll hike is ‘first step’ in solving Bay Area’s traffic woes, experts say” points out just how expensive proposed future transportation fixes will be. However, a strikingly insightful column by Daniel Borenstein, Toll hike vote indicates Bay Area struggles ahead, suggests that the Bay Area’s policy leaders will not be able to enact these programs because voters will not fund them. This is an acknowledgement of the public’s lack of confidence in MTC, an agency that has intentionally remained unknown by the larger public. That begs the question of whether we will all drown in…

Continue reading

Election night results for RM3

With 100% of precincts reporting, Regional Measure 3 won by a margin of 7 points: 53.66% to 46.34%. The most striking number, other than the much lower-than-predicted margin of victory, is that Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties together provided 130% of the winning vote margin. Without those two counties, the measure to impose higher bridge tolls would have failed. The fact that these two counties have low levels of bridge use suggests that serious constitutional violations have occurred. We are investigating remedies.

Continue reading

RM3’s claim of reduced traffic is misleading

Was the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) lying to the public when it wrote the ballot language for Regional Measure 3? The measure’s principal claim is that it will “reduce auto and truck traffic.” A leading opponent of Regional Measure 3, TRANSDEF, with deep familiarity with MTC’s planning documents, knew that MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan for 2040 projected a 44% increase in hours of congestion delay and a 21% increase in driving. These figures suggest that claims of traffic reduction were knowingly false. TRANSDEF filed a Public Records Act request on May 9, 2018 asking for: Any studies or analysis demonstrating…

Continue reading