by Andrew Boone : sf.streetsblog – excerpt – (graphics included)
After planning for the past decade to install express lanes on Highway 85, the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is now pitching its $350 million sales tax funding request to widen Highway 85 as “transit lanes.” On June 24, the VTA Board of Directors [PDF] struck any reference to “express lanes” from the Highway 85 project description that they had approved on June 2 along with $6.3 billion in transportation projects:
This category will To fund a managed lanes project that includes an express lane new transit and congestion relief projects on SR 85, in each direction, and a new transit lane in each direction on SR 85, including a new transit lane from SR 87 in San Jose to U.S. 101 in Mountain View. Additionally this category will fund noise abatement along SR 85 and will provide funding to study transportation alternatives that include, but are not limited to, Bus Rapid Transit with infrastructure such as stations and access ramps, Light Rail Transit, and future transportation technologies that may be applicable.”
Express lanes are free for buses and carpools, but charge a toll to solo drivers during congested hours of the day to keep the lane free-flowing. Transit lanes would allow only transit vehicles – buses or light rail – but not carpools or solo drivers. VTA installed express lanes on short sections of Highways 237 and 880 in 2012 and has been planning since 2007 to convert the existing carpool lanes on Highways 85 and 101 to express lanes, completing Santa Clara County’s portion of an envisioned 550-mile network of San Francisco Bay Area Express Lanes.
Highway 85 is also slated for widening from six to eight lanes between Highways 280 and 87 with a second set of express lanes built in the median “because traffic studies indicated the additional lanes were needed,” according to VTA’s December 2013 State Route 85 Express Lanes Project environmental assessment [PDF]. The study notes that “the ability to accommodate traffic growth will be constrained by the existing capacity of the freeway,” and predicts that the expansion would increase vehicle miles traveled by between five and 14 percent during rush hours. Air pollution and noise would also increase… (more)
Voters must be on the lookout for sneaky tax bills that don’t specify what the money is used for. This is one example of how our government tricks us into accepting “their” plans for “our ” money.
Already they are spending millions of dollars on “smart” highway projects they claim will “calm and control” traffic. On freeways? Who wants to slow traffic on freeways?