South Bay Leaders Refuse to Follow the Pack

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian of Palo Alto and Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel were described in the Palo Alto Daily Post as not supporting Regional Measure 3. Mayor Siegel appears to have agreed with TRANSDEF’s position, expressed in a recent Mercury News opinion piece: Siegel said that the tech company lobbyist Guardino’s support of the measure shows that big employers are trying to “externalize their transportation costs” by passing them on to the general population.   “Some of us believe that the right way to pay for transit is to tax the employers bringing traffic…

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TRANSDEF Opposition to RM3 Published in Mercury News

TRANSDEF’s opinion piece “Toll Increase Would Condemn Bay Area To Gridlock” was published in the Sunday print version of the Mercury News. The subheading is “If the Metropolitan Transportation Commission knew how to cut traffic, it would have done so by now.” The piece was specifically targeted for Silicon Valley, and identifies Silicon Valley business as major funders of the Yes on RM3 Campaign, and asks “Are Silicon Valley businesses trying to stick the public with the cost of transporting their workers?” The opinion piece explains that Regional Measure 3 is going to trap the Bay Area in its current trend,…

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Key Congressman Opposes RM3

In an unexpected blow to the credibility of Regional Measure 3, a Congressman with long ties to transportation has written an opposition to the measure. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) rebukes Bay Area politicians and MTC in particular: Now is the time to stop this cycle of waste and frustration and to engage in serious and coordinated planning, because the Bay Area needs and deserves better. Without greater transparency and accountability, Regional Measure 3 would result in, at best, moderate improvements in the short run, but no meaningful solution in the long term. This criticism is especially significant, because of the depth…

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Why Driving Alone Produces Incurable Congestion

An excellent article on the Heaven or Hell future of autonomous vehicles has a great chart that illustrates the choices for moving large numbers of people needing to travel at the same time. It is apparent from the images that when the numbers get high enough, there simply is no way to provide enough physical space for everyone wishing to travel alone. This is why the only convenient form of transportation from ever-increasing suburbanization has brought the Bay Area’s roads to a crisis point.  Regional Measure 3’s proposed expenditures have all been tried before: “Traffic is at an all-time high,” said Rebecca…

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Seattle Far Ahead of Bay Area in Protecting the Climate

Half of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) come from passenger vehicles, similar to the Bay Area. However, Seattle is far more committed to acting on climate change than the Bay Area. In a far-reaching plan released recently, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan “announce[d] that the City will develop and release a strategy to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing, coupled with investments in expanded transit and electrification in underserved communities.” This is strikingly important, as no other jurisdiction in the U.S. has considered using pricing as a tool to control climate emissions. As the plan states: Research suggests that the most effective…

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Seattle Gets It!

Seattle voters approved a Transportation Benefit District in 2014. The first year’s Performance Report contains the statement “… the City of Seattle is working … to identify projects, like One Center City, that will improve the quantity and quality of non-automobile transportation options and accommodate this projected growth in travel demand through non-SOV [Single-Occupant Vehicle] travel.” By adding bus service, Seattle has succeeded in changing the trend of Single-Occupant Vehicle use. In this graph from the Performance Report, solo driving has already declined, and is projected to drop even more in the future. MTC has failed to do this for the Bay Area.…

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Nashville Voters to decide on bold multimodal plan

Unlike the Bay Area, Nashville is presenting voters with a comprehensive plan that can realistically change how residents travel. While TRANSDEF has no opinion on the merits of the proposal, we applaud the innovation and courage of the agencies and groups involved in developing this proposal. It clearly is bold–and potentially very effective. Read more about the plan here. This is what real planning looks like.

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Seattle’s effectiveness in getting people on transit highlights how badly the Bay Area is doing

A recent story in City Lab entitled How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus provides compelling on-the-ground evidence of the efficacy of transportation planning in reducing regional congestion. Seattle’s strategies are clearly working to reduce the share of solo commuting by new residents. The Bay Area, in contrast, is projected to have the same proportion of solo drivers in 2040 as there is now. The strategy here isn’t working at all… Adding a million more solo drivers to already congested roads is a formula for gridlock. Regional Measure 3’s defeat in June will help influence MTC to…

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Why Environmentalists Should Oppose RM3

The general public has plenty of reason to distrust MTC and RM3. That said, environmentalists and especially climate activists have compelling reasons to actively campaign against RM3. Half of California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are produced by motor vehicles. We must fight back against MTC’s Business as Usual priorities, which result in continued emissions growth. MTC stubbornly refuses to change its priorities, even though the climate emergency clearly demands an entirely new focus: reducing GHG emissions. That requires shifting where the region’s transportation money is spent, something resisted by local governments. For the Bay Area and California to reach its…

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Napa Valley Register: Regional Measure 3: A taxing ripoff proposal?

An extended letter to the editor by Jack Gray, Director of the Napa County Taxpayers Association: A headline story in the Register of Feb. 11 alluded to a proposal to boost Bay Area bridge tolls by $3 (“Proposed Bay Area bridge toll hikes could benefit Napa County projects”). Implementation of Regional Measure 3 is now scheduled to be on the June ballots of all nine counties of the Association of Bay Area Governments. The article indicated that Napa would benefit if bridge tolls rise. The complete letter

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