Transportation News Items
On Thursday, February 9th, TRPT will be joining a broad coalition of equity advocates in a National Call-in Day against the Federal Transportation bill H.R. 7.
Reasons to vote no on H.R. 7 (the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act) and maintain 30 years of dedicated federal commitment to supporting mass transit, creating jobs and protecting civil rights and environmental justice:
1. It would eliminate all dedicated federal funding for mass transit
The bill would eliminate the 2.86 cent portion of the 18 cent federal gasoline tax currently dedicated to mass transit and "replace it" with unidentified general fund revenue from the federal budget. The current dedicated federal funding formula of 80% for highways and 20% for transit would now be 100% for highways and roads! Transit operators would be forced to make historic cuts in service and institute massive fare increases as they cut operations costs to backfill billions in lost capital funds from the House bill.
Extend BART to Livermore in order to transport people to jobs there, a number of speakers argued.
Many declared that fairness should be honored, since Livermore residents have been paying for BART for almost 50 years. Health issues provided another theme, since pollution caused by traffic continues to impact the quality of life in the Tri-Valley.
Editor's Note: This is the first part of a two-part news analysis which explores some unexpected synergies between Tea Party protesters and progressive opponents of planning policies which are perceived as anti-democratic. Part 2 will appear on Friday.
Most people regard meetings about regional planning, if they regard them at all, as soporific, PowerPointed affairs frequented by policy wonks. But on January 11, I attended a regional planning workshop in Dublin that was anything but dull. That’s because protesters from the East Bay Area Tea Party showed up along with some “fellow travelers” and nearly took the evening over. Their appearance was no surprise.
For over a year, members of the Tea Party have descended on planning events around the country. The Dublin event, sponsored by the lead regional planning agencies in the Bay Area, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), was the Alameda County installament of the second round of county-based Plan Bay Area public meetings [http://www.onebayarea.org/spotlight_12-11.htm] about the forthcoming Sustainable Communities Strategy/Regional Transportation Plan (SCS/RTP) mandated by the 2008 legislation, SB 375. The Tea Party also weighed in at the first round, held last May, as well as at all of the second round workshops that have been held so far.
By Denis Cuff
OAKLAND -- Plans for a November ballot measure to double Alameda County's sales tax for transportation to 1 cent are being rocked by a debate over allocating $400 million of the money to a BART extension to Livermore.
A coalition of social justice and public transit advocates said Tuesday the tax proposal needs an overhaul because it gives too much to expanding BART to Livermore and not enough for maintaining and operating public transit systems like struggling AC Transit.
"When you don't have enough money to take care of your existing systems, it doesn't make sense to make them bigger," said Jeff Hobson, deputy director of TransForm, a transit advocacy group. "This draft plan doesn't cut it, but it's not too late for the Alameda County Transportation Commission to get it right."
The half-cent sales tax enacted when county voters passed Measure B in 2000 supplies the county’s largest source of transportation funding. With that tax set to expire in 2022, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) is preparing to put a new measure before the voters in November 2012. The new proposition, if approved by a 2/3 vote, would double the tax to a full cent and make it permanent. ACTC expects to raise $7.7 billion with the expanded tax; this will represent more than half of the county’s total transportation funds. The 30-year plan for spending that money will be part of the measure on the ballot. If it is approved, county residents will not have another chance to shape transportation spending until 2042, when ACTC will submit another budget to the voters.