San Mateo Measure W going down to the wire

See updates, below. San Mateo County’s additional transportation sales tax, Measure W, failed to get a 2/3 majority vote on election night. As the mail-in ballots are slowly tallied, the percentage is creeping slowly towards 66.67%. As of November 25, the count was at 66.55% yes, with approximately 13,000 ballots left to count. TRANSDEF has taken an Oppose position, and has been helping its allies in San Mateo County. Excellent coverage in the local press: Daily Post Measure W Editorial Daily Journal Article As of Tuesday, November 27, the margin had shifted significantly to 66.87% Yes votes. Concerns have been…

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Kids’ safety held hostage in Measure AA money grab

In a great post today, CO$T’s Mimi Willard shows just how far TAM is willing to go to to scare voters into passing Measure AA. TRANSDEF has seen similar hostage-taking in other measures. It is a frequent tactic of agencies seeking more funding. Often, the claim is that underprivileged people would be hurt if the measure doesn’t pass. The implicit threat is that “If you don’t care enough about these people to protect them, we won’t protect them either.” Of course, what does that say about the priorities of the decision makers? It says, “We’re going to do just what…

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Measure AA: TAM could care less about climate change

Climate change is sending increasingly strong messages–through catastrophic floods, droughts, and wildfires–that human societies must shift their priorities if they are to survive beyond the next few generations. Unfortunately, transportation professionals–including the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM)–still haven’t accepted the responsibility of reducing the impact of transportation on climate change. Climate change is caused primarily by the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from the burning of fossil fuels. Motor vehicles are the biggest source of GHGs in California, in the Bay Area, and in Marin. Because driving keeps increasing, GHG emissions keep increasing, even while the State is working hard to…

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TAM can’t be trusted with a 30-year sales tax

Today’s Marin IJ carried TRANSDEF’s Marin Voice, entitled “TAM can’t be trusted with a 30-year sales tax.” Although the IJ endorsed the measure, it gave opponents the much-sought-after Sunday placement. The piece is a hard-hitting takedown of a status quo agency that is uninterested in its impacts on climate. As environmentalists, we find that stance completely unacceptable. See associated post.

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We don’t have much time left to fix transportation

Environmentalist Ed Mainland of Novato, CA speaks out: Controversy has swirled around Marin’s Measure AA. Many proponents of Measure AA seem oblivious to TAM’s dismal track record and substantive arguments pro and con around TAM’s funding plan. Proponents point to the plan’s funding of transit, EVs, and Safe Routes to Schools. Others call the plan conventional, status quo, wedded to car culture, and lacking in real understanding of what is at stake. Several things Marinites may wish to keep in mind: 1. A local climate activist recently compared TAM’s plan to Los Angeles’ plan and found TAM’s, by comparison, to…

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Trump Administration acknowledges climate change

In a shocking new policy position, the Trump Administration claims there’s no point in higher efficiency standards for new cars and trucks for reducing GHGs. There’s nothing new in that. They offered a completely new reason, however: because the reductions won’t make a significant difference in a world that clings to fossil fuels. Of course, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. NHTSA has put out a draft Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed CAFE standard that projects that in 2100, there will be 708 ppm CO2, 3.8 meters of sea level rise and 4 degrees C global temperature rise. It is already…

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Marin’s Measure AA

The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) has placed Measure AA, a 0.5 % sales tax for transportation on the November ballot. The measure would replace the existing Measure A that voters approved in 2004. Measure AA would run for 30 years before the voters would be asked to approve a subsequent measure. Marin is facing a transportation crisis: traffic congestion keeps getting worse while greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles keep getting higher. TRANSDEF opposes Measure AA because the measure doesn’t even acknowledge there is a crisis. Instead, the measure offers a Business as Usual collection of the programs and projects of the…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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