Bay Area Transportation Working Group (BATWG) – No on Regional Measure 3

In an economically dynamic region like the Bay Area the ability to get around is paramount.  Yet in recent years the movement of people and goods in this region has been slowing down.  The highway backups have been getting worse and the hours of delay longer.  Urban traffic congestion has been getting ever more constrictive.

In the past 25 years there have been many opportunities to deal effectively with regional gridlock.  These opportunities have been largely ignored.  Instead, billions of dollars of scarce transportation resources have been lavished on backward-looking highway expansions and ill-conceived parochial and pet projects, mostly of small consequence.

For the following reasons BATWG rejects RM3 as being just more of the same.

  • RM3 contains no unifying plan for addressing the region’s main transportation problems; namely, the excessive freeway backups and urban traffic constraints, and the poorly integrated and otherwise defective regional network of public transit lines.
  • Instead of a well thought out regional plan for returning a healthier balance to Bay Area transportation, RM3 is comprised of a slapped-together $4.45 billion dollar hodgepodge of 35 disjointed individual projects.   A handful of these are worthwhile; however the package as a whole falls far short.  In fact RM3 promises to bring nothing but more backups and more congestion.
  • Another problem is caused by the common practice of MTC, the large transportation agencies and local jurisdictions of diverting funds from voter-approved projects to other uses. BATWG’s efforts notwithstanding, the Sponsors of RM3 have steadfastly refused to guarantee that the money raised will be spent on the projects listed in the Voter’s Handbook.
  • And finally, there’s the matter of RM3’s constitutionality.  In order to qualify RM3 for a 50% “do pass” vote, it was necessary for the sponsors of the Measure to define the $3 + in additional bridge tolls to be imposed by RM3 as “fees”.  However under the California Constitution fees are clearly intended to produce benefits for the fee payers.  Since most of the voters who would be receiving the $billions in new highway and transit projects if RM3 passes would notbe fee payers, RM3 comes nowhere close to meeting that standard.  RM3 is therefore about new taxes, not new fees.  And tax measures require a 7% vote, not a 50% vote.  This puts RM3 in direct violation of the California Constitution.

For these reasons BATWG believes that this deceptive, unfair and illegal measure should be voted down.  By refusing to go along with “just more of the same”, the voters would be sending a message demanding something better; namely a straightforward regional plan that addresses and deals with the Region’s most pressing transportation problems.

Download the doc. (RM3 Opposition May 1718)

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Update on the Rail Alignment and Benefits (RAB) Study

Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Herbst Theater Green Room, 401 Van Ness Street
Language & Accessibility: The Herbst Theater is ADA accessible. For language and additional accessibility accommodations, please contact candace.soohoo@sfgov.org or 415-575-9157 at least 72 hours in advance.

Please join us as we summarize the findings from the Rail Alignment and Benefits (RAB) study, including a preliminary preferred alignment for Caltrain and High Speed Rail: the Pennsylvania Avenue DTX + Extended Tunnel. Community members are invited to provide input on the alignment, adjacent land use opportunities, and next steps.

Please RSVP Here  This event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are not mandatory, but helpful to ensure we have enough materials.

In other news…
You may have seen the recent San Francisco Chronical article “New, simpler rail plan for SF’s downtown rail extension” (April 23). While mostly accurate, the article was incorrect in stating that the Study materials have been made public. The study materials have been released to our partner City agencies for their comments and review through a series of technical committee meetings in April and May, but will not be made available to the broader public until just prior to the May 29 meeting.

Got 6 minutes and 40 seconds?
Watch the RAB Pecha Kucha presentation given at SPUR or see the slides here.

The Rail Alignment and Benefits (RAB) Study is analyzing the best ways to bring Caltrain and High Speed Rail to the Salesforce Transit Center while connecting San Francisco’s fastest-growing neighborhoods on the east side of the City. For more information visit our website.

Update on the Rail Alignment and Benefits (RAB) Study, formerly the Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study

Subway contractor knew it was using wrong rails

 By Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

The Central Subway contractor that installed 3.2 miles of supposedly substandard track on the new line claims it acted “in full compliance” with its contract, despite being told by the city four years ago that it was using the wrong steel and needed to switch it out, city records show…

On Monday, Maria Ayerdi, the former Transbay Joint Powers Authority boss now working for Tutor Perini on the subway project, sent San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s office a letter looking for help in resolving the dispute…

The letter included a statement from locally operated Con-Quest pleading its case and saying the cost of having to replace 201 tons of installed rail “will have an enormous impact on our company” and that if the city “succeeds in forcing our company out of business more than 60 employees will lose their jobs.”

The dispute also raises disturbing questions about city oversight of the subway, which stretches from South of Market to Chinatown…(more)

This project was doomed from the start.

RELATED:

City investigated steel track on another project laid by Central Subway contractor

At the SFMTA Board of Directors, a member of the public called on the SFMTA to inspect other trackway laid by Con-Quest.

“I’m wondering if the rail to be laid in the Twin Peaks tunnel meets these specifications in the contract,” said San Franciscan David Pilpel, in public comment to the board and Reiskin. “Was that high strength rail? Standard strength rail? Is that the rail sitting along Junipero Serra for two years, rusting?”….

Outside the SFMTA board meeting, Reiskin said the issue at Central Subway did not call for the agency to inspect Con-Quest’s other repair work… (more)

 

Transportation Authority, C/CAG Sign Off on Shuttles

patch – excerpt

The TA has been funding shuttles through Measure A funds since 2002, when it started routes serving Caltrain Stations.

From San Mateo County Transpo Authority: The San Mateo County Transportation Authority (TA) Board of Directors approved $9 million in funding for its shuttle program at its May meeting. Last night, the City and County Association of Governments (C/CAG) voted to contribute $1 million to the program, which will run 35 shuttles throughout San Mateo County… (more)

San Francisco Accused of Giving ‘Tech Buses’ Free Ride

Nearly 400 commuter shuttles travel through San Francisco every day, but are they paying their fair share? That’s the question posed by critics who argue companies that operate these “Tech Buses” should pay more for their use of public bus stops and damaging city streets. Investigative reporter Bigad Shaban reports on a story that first aired May 3, 2018…(more)