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…

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KRON4 reports on RM3

KRON4’s report on Regional Measure 3 featured dueling appearances by the Bay Area Council’s John Grubb and TRANSDEF.org’s David Schonbrunn. Schonbrunn asserted: This will do nothing whatsoever for congestion. What it will do is move politically-favored projects along. The Bay Area Council attempted to erase the politicized legislative origin of the measure: The Bay Area Council points say this is no pork barrel project but one designed by both regional and local traffic engineers with the goal of reducing congestion. Grubb, of course, claimed the measure would improve traffic. We’ll see if voters are taken in by the hype…

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Daily Cal comes out against RM3

Another voice for sanity: The Daily Cal’s endorsements include opposing RM3: Bay Area residents are no strangers to the congested, poorly maintained transportation infrastructure that litters the region. Regional Measure 3, with its 25-year goal of raising $4.45 billion in funding for 35 transportation projects, aims to alleviate this Bay Area congestion. But while the Bay Area desperately needs solutions to its transportation problems, the eventual $3 increase in bridge tolls that the measure would necessitate makes transbay travel unsustainable for the scores of low-income workers who commute to San Francisco. Ultimately, while this measure is a step in the right…

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TRANSDEF on KSRO Radio

TRANSDEF’s David Schonbrunn was on Santa Rosa radio station KSRO to talk about Regional Measure 3. Leading off the segment was a discussion with Jake Mackenzie, a Rohnert Park Councilman and the current chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the MTC in OccupyMTC). In his segment (the lower of the two audio players on the KSRO page), Schonbrunn addressed sprawl growth, Sonoma’s big climate and congestion challenge for the future, and urged a shift of future development to sites near good transit service.

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Chron gives grudging nod to RM3 opposition

The Chronicle’s lead story today, Measure would hike tolls to cut congestion, is a glowing promotion of the benefits of Regional Measure 3. To be able to check the box for journalistic balance, a short section on the opponents is stuck near the very end of the article. This perfunctory treatment, however, is immediately neutralized by MTC spokesmouth Randy Rentschler: Considering all the fixes we need in the Bay Area, there are going to be people upset they don’t get theirs included. I get it. It doesn’t take more than a day driving around in the Bay Area to figure we…

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Who’s paying for the Yes on RM3 Campaign?

The Mercury News published a report on the large contributors to the Yes on RM3 campaign. What’s so interesting about this measure’s sponsors is they’re not the usual group that typically bankrolls transportation funding measures. Usually, it’s contractors seeking to make money on the public projects funded by the measure. This year, however, high-tech firms are leading the charge to charge the public more for using the bridges. Is this public-spirited? Or is it an attempt to distract the public from connecting the dots between the big increase in congestion and the high-tech economic boom? If the public is told, through…

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KPIX Poll Shows Bridge Toll Hike Measure Facing Uphill Battle

A news story on KPIX-TV showed an RM3 commercial in the background, while delivering poll results: According to the exclusive KPIX 5 Survey USA Poll, 40 percent of Bay Area voters support the plan, while 34 percent are against it. Another 26 percent respondents said they weren’t sure. That support is a lot softer than earlier polling, which had made MTC confident enough to try pushing the toll hikes. Host Phil Matier pointed out the overt contradiction between the claim that the measure’s added public transit will reduce traffic and real-world experience: An interesting pitch, considering the poll shows that after all…

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Marin Independent Journal Publishes TRANSDEF Opinion Piece

Today’s Marin Independent Journal published TRANSDEF’s piece explaining how suburban development leads to solo driving, which leads to congestion. This problem is the result of our governance structure: Suburbanization is a piecemeal process, governed by local government. What’s been missed for the past 80 years is the cumulative effect of many thousands of subdivisions in dozens of jurisdictions on the region’s transportation network. That kind of analysis requires regional governance with the power and will to enforce consequences on development that has negative impacts on the region. The editorials opposing Regional Measure 3 by the Mountain View Voice and Palo…

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Mountain View Voice Opposes RM3

The Mountain View Voice published a strong editorial yesterday opposing Regional Measure 3. Its key statement: RM3’s toll increases, along with the implementation of inflation escalators, ask for too much and attempt to leverage the public’s frustration over bad traffic to disproportionately penalize bridge commuters, a small fraction of voters and therefore an easy target. Bay Area business leaders and their advocacy organizations such as Silicon Valley Leadership Group need to work more on the root cause of our transportation problems — the continued approvals of new commercial development on the Peninsula without the housing needed to accommodate the employees. The…

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