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)

Bay Area transit agencies among several to receive billions in state funds

By: Daniel Montes :ktvu – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – The California State Transportation Agency on Thursday announced it would give out more than $2.6 billion to 28 transit agencies statewide, including the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, Caltrain and BART, as well as several other Bay Area agencies.

The grant funding is part of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capacity Program and will go toward expanding rail capacity and reducing congestion, according to CalSTA officials.

In addition to the $2.6 billion, which will be used for the 2018/2019 fiscal year to the 2022/2023 fiscal year, CalSTA will also provide additional funds for some critical projects between the 2023/2024 fiscal year and the 2027/2028 fiscal year, totaling more than $4.3 billion, CalSTA officials said…

“When the legislature stepped up and passed Senate Bill 1 and extended Cap and Trade last year, these are exactly the kinds of public transportation projects I wanted to see fund,” Wiener said, referring to the Road and Repair Accountability Act of 2017… (more)

Can California sustain the inflationary spiral our state legislature is setting us up for? This is not free money. This appears to be the road repair money we were promised would come out of SB1. How much road repair have we seen? All the shiny new buses need better roads too.

Now the MTC wants us to cough up more money into their coffers by passing one of the most inflationary bills every imagined, Regional Measure Three.

Not only would RM3, as it is known, add at least $3 to the bridge tolls on all the state bridges in the 9-county region, if it passes it will trigger immediate costs of living increases as the cost of shipping everything, including food, goes up. In addition to guaranteed inflation, the voters will see the following impacts:

  • Automatic increases based on inflation that the bill is certain to trigger.
  • The bridge tolls will be used to pay down the considerable bond debt the tax payers have already agreed to.
  • Voters will give up their right to control future bridge toll increases.

FOR THESE AND MANY OTHER REASONS, WE SUGGEST YOU OPPOSE RM3.
And Consider voting to Repeal SB 1. This state imposed bill has already had a negative impact on many lives and businesses in the state as diesel gas prices are already soaring. A bill to repeal the gas tax and return the right to decide future increase will probably be on the November 2018 ballot.

New, simpler plan for SF’s downtown rail extension

By Michael Cabanatuan and J.K. Dineen : sfchronicle – excerpt

Cautious optimism for San Francisco’s East Side communities – there is a less disruptive, cheaper alternative plan for the downtown rail extension

San Francisco’s latest vision for South of Market preserves Interstate 280, gets rid of the Caltrain rail yard, and has the commuter rail line’s downtown extension bypass Mission Bay, instead dipping underground a mile before its current station at Fourth and King streets.

A study to be released Monday, after 3½ years of work, significantly revises an idea raised by then-Mayor Ed Lee in 2013 to improve transit connectivity and create a new neighborhood…(more)

The last thing we need is to destroy another neighborhood to create a new one.

 

 

How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

: usa.streetsblog – excerpt

That trend has cooled slightly since then, but Seattle continues to see increased overall transit ridership, bucking the national trend of decline. In 2016, Seattle saw transit ridership increase by 4.1 percent—only Houston and Milwaukee saw even half that increase in the same year.

The bus driver: When buses get priority, riders prioritize the bus.  Third Avenue is one of a few transit malls in the United States that restrict private automobile use.

As great as it would be to maximize the bus’s reign on the roads everywhere, that’s not always possible. Scott Kubly, the director of Seattle’s Department of Transportation, says making the system better mostly means spotting small fixes. “We don’t just focus on the big corridor projects,” Kubly says. “We are focused on making the small, surgical improvements that add up to something big.”(more)

San Francisco needs leadership that begins and ends by focusing on customer service. Forcing all modes to share the road is not helping anyone. Giving private corporate interests priorities is not serving the public.

Power players map strategy to get Bay Area bridge toll hike passed in June

By Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

THERE IS AN OPPOSITION TO RM3!
The media is just ignoring it. Not all community leaders support RM3. Find out why: RM3 Handout

Big names and big money are banding together to sell voters in June on a $3 toll increase on state-run Bay Area bridges to pay for a laundry list of road, rail and ferry projects throughout the region — some sexy and some not so much.

While there has been no organized opposition, one vocal opponent is Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord.

“The projects they are talking about are all over the place and are based more on political relationships than on transportation engineering,” DeSaulnier said.

State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon, is also opposed, largely because the measure allows for automatic toll increases in the future based on inflation.

“And they can do it without any vote of the people or the Legislature,” Baker said…

OPPOSITION TO RM3 is growing as more people find out about this draconian tax, that is not a tax. How well has the gas tax worked so far? How many streets and bridges have been repaired?

Passage of this bill is an open-ended invitation to (WHO EXACTLY?) to raise the rates based on inflation. Inflation is built into these rates, which, along with the gas tax, unless it is repealed, will assure inflation. Every truckload of products crossing state bridges in the Bay Area will add to the cost of living, including the cost of food. Food and gas costs have already gone up.

WE MUST STOP RM3! JOIN THE OPPOSITION!

Regional tax elections rules do not match other ballot initiatives. There are no paid ballot arguments allowed. Only one argument per county is allowed.

These special rules only apply to regional ballot issues. This is a good reason to oppose them. More reasons are here: RM3 Handout

Credit union files taxi medallion suit against SFMTA

By Julia Cheever : sfbay – excerpt

A credit union that helped The City of San Francisco sell taxi medallions has sued a city agency over financial losses caused by the collapse in value of the medallions amid the rise of ride-booking services such as Uber and Lyft.

The lawsuit was filed against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday by the nonprofit, member-owned San Francisco Federal Credit Union.

It seeks $28 million in compensation plus an order requiring The City to buy back unsellable medallions for the $250,000 purchase price.

The lawsuit charges the SFMTA violated alleged promises to keep the taxi business vibrant, shore up the value of the medallions and buy back any medallions that it couldn’t resell.

Instead, the law suit claims:

“…[SFMTA] has elected to stick its head in the sand while the credit union and hardworking taxi driver medallion owners are saddled with all the burdens.”… (more)