Gov. Brown In Riverside Pushing For Gas Tax Hikes

losangeles.cbslocal – excerpt (video included)

Potholes on Carolina Street.

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) —Gov. Jerry Brown joined state and local representatives in Riverside Tuesday to push for a bill that would raise gasoline taxes and vehicle license fees to pay for road repairs.

The Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017 is expected to generate an estimated $5.2 billion a year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

The pump price hikes would cost drivers about $10 a month, according to the governor’s office…

President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said the bill will contain a lockbox that will make sure the money can only be spent on roads and bridges.

“All transportation dollars will be in that lockbox and used exclusively for our roads and for transportation,” de Leon said…(more)

As we know the two paragraphs are not the same. roads and bridges does not mean roads and transportation. We have been done this tax road before. It is still a crooked road full of false promises.

 

U.S. Transportation department executive approved grant days before taking job with rail contractor

By Ralph Vartabedian : latimes – excerpt

A top Obama administration executive at the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a $647-million grant for a California rail project in mid-January and less than two weeks later went to work for a Los Angeles-based contractor involved in the project, The Times has learned.

The grant provides a significant part of the money required to install a $2-billion electrical power system on the Bay Area’s Caltrain commuter rail system, allowing the rail to retire its diesel locomotives.

The power equipment will eventually be used by the state’s bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, making it a critical part of the $64-billion program. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has pledged about $713 million to help install the system, according to state records.

The grant was handled by Carolyn Flowers, the acting chief of the Federal Transit Administration.  Flowers announced the grant approval in a letter, dated Jan. 18,  to congressional leaders. The Times obtained a copy of the letter…

Thirteen days later, Flowers went to work for Aecom, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm. The company news release announcing her hiring says she will head its North American transit practice. Aecom provides program management services to Caltrain for the electrification project, according to Caltrain documents. It was formerly a regional consultant to the high-speed rail project as well.

On Friday, the federal transit agency said it had “deferred” a decision on the grant and said it would look at the matter in the next federal budget cycle. The decision may be an early sign of the Trump administration’s view of the bullet train project. The line is already under construction and will need significant federal funding moving forward.

The delay follows a letter from every Republican member of the California House delegation to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, asking that the grant be put off until an audit of the high-speed rail project is completed.
This is exactly what America hates about Washington, D.C… (more)

Don’t they call this the revolving door?

RELATED:
Carolyn Flowers-letter to congress 
Caltrain and High Speed Rail and FTA funding – Revolving Door Shenanigans

Costly Transbay Transit Center in busload of trouble

Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

…“The elephant in the living room is solving the operating subsidy problem, which could be as large as $20 million a year — and without a source of revenue,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who chairs San Francisco’s Transportation Authority…

Taxpayers and bridge commuters will probably be on the hook to pick up millions of dollars in costs, although the exact amount still isn’t known…

“We expect to have an operating deficit,” said Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the public Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is building the center.

Without the foot traffic that high-speed rail could draw, the mall is looking a lot less attractive to potential renters. That means the authority may have to offer sweetheart deals to lure stores — which, of course, means less money…(more)

The City has a lot of nerve coming to the voters and tax payers begging for funds to operate a transit center many never wanted in the first place. When do we quit digging holes to fill and just fill the ones we have already dug?

Given the choice between paying for health care and paying for street diets and sidewalk widening, which do you think the voters would prefer? Housing and transportation are not the only think we need and the sooner City Hall wakes up to that fact the sooner we can start to repair the damage.

Funding blocked for transit center amid concerns of sinking Millennium Tower

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The fallout of San Francisco’s sinking downtown Millennium Tower broadened Tuesday when millions of dollars for the second phase of the nearby Transbay Transit Center was blocked amid concerns The City will once again be on the hook for ballooning costs.

Earlier this year, the the Board of Supervisors approved a $260 million bailout for the Transbay Joint Powers Authority’s Phase 1 of the Transbay Transit Center. Months later, the 58-story Millennium Tower near the center and under TJPA oversight was revealed to have sunk more than three times its forecasted sinking, prompting a lawsuit and city investigations.

Meanwhile, city leaders are slamming the brakes on the second phase of the multi-billion dollar transit project.

On Tuesday, the head of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Mark Zabaneh, said he wanted $6.77 million in Proposition K sales tax revenue to move ahead with the $3.9 billion Phase 2 of the project… (more)

Governor vetoes bill to mandate parking after street sweeping, prevent tickets at broken meter

By Sophia Bollag : latimes – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have required communities to reopen parking immediately after street-sweeping.

The bill also would have prevented residents from getting ticketed if they parked next to a broken meter for up to two hours.

In his veto message Brown said the bill would have hindered municipalities from performing regular road maintenance and would have confused drivers about when they were allowed to park in certain areas… (more)

Watch for the SFMTA to take advantage of this if they can. Ask the supervisor candidates what they will do to protect us from these infringements.

SoCal support for bullet train wavers–tired of scam

By Stephen Frank : capoliticalreview – excerpt

It takes a long time for folks to admit they were scammed.  Arnold, the unions and crony capitalists lied to Californians to gain support of Prop. 1A, the bond measure to give $10 billion to one of the biggest scams in American history.  He finally admitted he lied about the cost, route and ridership.  The people believed the actor, who was very convincing

By James Poulos : calwatchdog – excerpt

California’s beleaguered high-speed rail project has hit yet another speed bump: a loss of confidence among Southern California officials already left hanging by plans that shifted first-stage construction northward.

“The California rail authority’s failure to identify a source of funding to connect Los Angeles to the future bullet train system is not acceptable, said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Assn. of Governments,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “Until the high-speed rail authority released a new draft business plan last month, the state had planned to open its first operating segment between Burbank and the Central Valley by 2022. But in a major concession to its limited funding, the plan now calls for a cheaper segment that would run from San Jose to the Central Valley by 2025.”

The catch, SCAG discovered, is that costs imposed by completing the initial segment will ensure that “all the existing funds would be exhausted, leaving uncertainty about how and when the line would ever cross the geologically complex mountains of Southern California,” as the paper added.

Disillusioned Democrats

The changes have accelerated criticism of the floundering effort — among Democrats as well as Republicans. “California lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction Monday with a plan to change the direction of a $64 billion high-speed railway,” the Associated Press noted… (more)

RELATED:

Senators Ask Tough Questions About High-Speed Rail

By Katie Orr, : KQED – excerpt

A California Senate committee got its chance today to take a closer look at the status of the state’s high-speed rail project. The High-Speed Rail Authority recently released a draft business plan.

At the hearing, High-Speed Rail Authority Chair Dan Richard said construction on the first segment was shifted from a southern route between the Central Valley and Los Angeles to a northern route between the Central Valley and San Jose because it was less expensive and could generate significant private investment. But he says the train needs to be running to attract investors.

“They’re looking for that first operating line,” he says.

The Rail Authority estimates it will cost about $20 billion to build the northern route, which Richard says could generate $8 billion to $10 billion in private investment. He said the segment could be operational by 2025.

But while the Rail Authority was touting the progress being made on the project, senators of both parties expressed concerns about financing. Republican Jim Nielsen says the evolution of the project make him uneasy.

“There have been so many changes, how can we find comfort?” he asked. “It seems like it’s almost careening down the tracks.”… (more)

 

Demolition of one-mile stretch of I-280 part of proposal to link Mission Bay with surrounding area

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mission Bay is San Francisco’s neighborhood of the future.

That’s Mayor Ed Lee’s publicly stated vision. And in public documents, his office said a key to that future may be razing Interstate Highway 280 — now the source of much public ire.

Mission Bay has become home to gleaming new UC San Francisco hospitals, and is the potential new home to what some call the mayor’s “legacy project” — the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center. The Mission Rock and Pier 70 housing developments could also soon considerably boost the neighborhood’s population.

And one day in the far-flung future, perhaps decades from now, Mission Bay may become the conduit for a second transbay tube that would connect BART and — for the first time — newly electrified Caltrain service to the East Bay.

But the future comes at a cost…

Gil Kelley, director of citywide planning at the Planning Department, presented the plan Tuesday night to nearly 150 neighbors, who packed an auditorium at the Potrero Hill Recreation Center. The project is still in early phases — preliminary designs may not arrive for at least a year.

Still, opposition is already brewing over the possibility of tearing down a portion of I-280…

Future Transit Connections

Boos and hisses rang through the rec center as Kelley discussed the proposal to raze I-280.

Details were sparse about the proposal, however. Kelley said the concepts were “mix and match,” and did not depend on each other to come to fruition.

Though many defended I-280 as vital for drivers, it was recently listed as one of the Bay Area’s most congested freeways by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission…

The railyard alternatives plan also explores tunneling from the Transbay Transit Center to Mission Bay, which later could serve as the beginning of a new transbay tube under the bay to Alameda.

Additionally, it looks potential alternatives to possibly run Caltrain along 3rd Street for a combined Caltrain/Muni station, as part of the downtown extension of the Transbay Transit Center.

Teardown Opposition Grows

Removing a portion of I-280 was the most controversial part of this plan prior to the meeting, and that sentiment intensified Tuesday night.

Surrounded by angry neighbors at the rec center, former Mayor Art Agnos — no stranger to fighting development, as evidenced by the recent “No Wall on the Waterfront” campaign — told the San Francisco Examiner he will personally combat any effort to tear down I-280.

In 2014, Agnos and now-Supervisor Aaron Peskin blocked a luxury housing development along the Embarcadero, and passed a ballot measure calling for voter approval of all height-limit increases along the waterfront.

Agnos promised a similar fight against tearing down I-280.

“I’m going to make the [No Wall on the Waterfront] fight look like a minor league skirmish,” he said…(more)

The truth about High Speed Rail

There have no money. They are $440 million dollars short the money they need to finish electrifying  the train. (phase one.) They need private funds. Public money will not be sufficient to build the high speed rail. They are trying to convince people to give up their cars to create demand for public transit so they can convince investors that there are profits to be made by investing in public transit systems such as high speed rail. That is why they are trying to increase the population. They will need a lot more people to pay for the transit systems they want to build.

RELATED:
Proponents in Washington promote California’s bullet train

Brown’s transportation budget celebrates the car

By Daniel Weintraub :  californiahealthreport – excerpt

Weeks after returning from the Paris summit on climate change where he was hailed as a leader in the movement to limit greenhouse gases, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a new transportation budget that celebrates the car.

In 2016-17, Brown wants to spend $16 billion on transportation, and most of that would go toward making it easier for people to drive. The Democratic governor wants to build new roads and highways and repave old ones, and use more technology to speed traffic.

As opposed to what the SFMTA is doing. Are they at odds with the state?

Brown does dedicate some new money to transit and rail improvements, including the high-speed rail project that he sees as part of his legacy.

But he proposes almost nothing to promote “active transportation” – human-powered movement through neighborhoods and cities on bikes and on foot that is not only better for the environment, but also for our health.

Despite an increase of $3 billion for transportation overall, his budget would offer the same $120 million these programs received in 2015-16 to pay for changes that make streets safer and offer alternative routes to help walkers and cyclists get off the roads.

Brown’s budget would do little to reduce a backlog of more than $800 million in local projects seeking a share of these limited funds.

His biggest insult to active transportation is his proposal to use $100 million in cap-and-trade fees collected from industrial polluters to finance an initiative he calls “low-carbon roads.”  That proposal might even be illegal… (more)

Is it April Fools Day or is this the Onion? Can this be true that the governor has figured out cars are not the enemy, that the car industry is producing cleaner more efficient engines that use less gas and are swapping out for electric cars as fast as they can get their hands on them?

Could it also have anything to do with the realization that around 30% of the funds for public transportation comes from private transportation drivers. You don’t want to kill that goose if you want to keep those buses, trains and rails moving.

He must know better than to fight the latest trend in Silicon Valley as they turn to cars and the drones now that everyone has a computer and smart device. You don’t want to fight Apple and Google over their future plans to build robot cars. Those cars will require smart roads no doubt.

Regardless, we applaud the governor and state representatives for changing their focus and finally (we hope) supporting the goose that lays the eggs that feed the ferocious transportation appetite. Most of the air pollution is coming out of the ground (in SoCal) and is produced by the buildings, not the cars.

Roadshow: Rising cost of high-speed rail (while potholes go unfilled) rankles many

By Gary Richards : mercurynews – excerpt

Our crumbling roadways are not a call for action to raise the gas tax. It’s a call for action to stop the $71 billion crazy train also known as high-speed rail. Our roads are deteriorating around us. There is little money to fix them, yet we can find $71 billion for a fool’s errand that even the high-speed rail authority says may relieve only 1 percent of traffic.

Now that sounds crazy to me!…

When state voters approved a bond measure in 2008 to cover the first $10 billion for high-speed rail, the estimate for the total cost of the project was $40 billion to build tracks from the Bay Area to Los Angeles... (more)

 

New House majority leader promises to block Calif. railway funding

By Keith Laing : thehill – excerpt

Newly installed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised on Monday that he would “do all that I can to ensure not one dollar of federal funding goes to boondoggles like [California’s] high-speed rail.”

McCarthy and other Republicans in Washington and California have long been opposed to the controversial California high-speed rail project, which has received more than $3 billion from the Obama administration since 2009.

But McCarthy was recently elevated to the No. 2 position in the House Republican caucus following the defeat of former GOP Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in his bid for re-election earlier this year.. (more)

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