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 sister website transdef.org 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…

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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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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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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…

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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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The backstory of Seattle’s success with buses

CityLab offers more details about how Seattle succeeded in accommodating a large increase in population with an expanded bus system. A good representative quote: The first lesson for any transportation planner looking to reverse-engineer Seattle-style success: Make room for buses. Seattle is one of the few cities to escape the transit death spiral, where budget cuts lead to reduced service hours, which leads to lower ridership. Seattle has created a virtuous circle, where good bus service leads to higher ridership, which supports better service. The article also mentions that the Nashville, TN transit measure mentioned previously here was defeated in…

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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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Seattle leads on parking, too!

In Seattle’s latest act of transportation greatness, parking minimums were eliminated in areas with good transit. Councilmember Rob Johnson, the legislation’s lead sponsor, said at Monday’s council meeting: Fundamentally I come to this because I believe it’s unfair for us to have parking that’s abundant and free and housing that is scarce and expensive. I’m working hard to change that. The measure unbundled parking fees from rents, thereby creating an economic incentive to reduce or eliminate household automobiles. It also authorized the renting of surplus off-street parking to non-residents of the building in which it is located, thereby reducing the need…

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Women lead the way on climate policy

A very significant opinion piece by three women leaders suggests that the upcoming San Mateo sales tax needs to acknowledge that the era of highway widening is over: Please urge our county’s Board of Supervisors and the leaders of our transportation agencies to end the cycle of highway widening, and instead, fund projects with this ballot measure that improve mobility without adding polluting car trips. TRANSDEF applauds these leaders for helping the public grasp the seemingly counterintuitive notion that widening highways doesn’t solve congestion. The piece is well-worth reading. Highway widening is controversial up in Portland, where strong dissenting opinions…

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