Ballot Measure would raise Bay Area bridge tolls $3

By Alexis Smith : KGO – excerpt

No matter how you get to work, you’ve no doubt seen the impacts of the bay area’s thriving economy. Packed trains, congested highways, late ferries and aging transit systems are the norm, but voters are being asked to pass regional measure three to fix them…

“We want to smooth out the system – make it more efficient, we’re not planning to build new freeways here, but we’re going to smooth out the express lane system at the same time try to move more people onto mass transportation,” said Wunderman.

If passed, there would be some road improvements, but, most of the money would be spent on improving the Bay Area’s existing mass transit infrastructure…

“This is the first transportation tax I’ve opposed in oh – the 28 years I’ve held elected office,” said Walnut Creek Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. He says he’s voting “no” on Regional Measure 3. Mostly because those who foot the bill will see the least from its passage….

DeSaulnier was once on the M-T-C board and he says its record of spending money well isn’t good. Starting with the decision to move its headquarters from Oakland to San Francisco.

Congressman DeSaulnier added, “They spent $250 million for a building they didn’t need – and they were $5 billion over budget on the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge.”…

“We have an incredible quality of life here – we have an incredible economy here – but we have challenges as a result of our success and we need to invest in solving those things and this is one way the region can come together,” said Wunderman…. (more)

VOTE NO ON REGIONAL MEASURE 3  Who are the WE with the quality of life here? Certainly not the displaced people who were forced to move to commute to “make room” for people. Their lifestyle sucks now and they are the least likely to afford the additional tolls even though it falls on their heads.

MTC SPREADS THE PAIN TO EVERYONE. Funds from the tolls will be used for toll roads and HOT lanes in Silicon Valley and everywhere else. No one will be spared. The $9.oo bridge toll is the tip of the iceberg.

RM3 REMOVES VOTER CONTROL OVER FUTURE BRIDGE TOLLS. If RM3 passes the voters will never be bothered with the need to vote on another bridge toll. The measure includes built-in increases based on inflation, that bill will ensure by forcing everyone to pay higher prices for all deliveries, including food.

RELATED:
Occupymtc.org
Nine-county-coalition
Oppose RM3

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Supes grant themselves power to appeal SFMTA decisions

by Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to give itself the power to hear appeals of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency decisions on issues including stop sign installations, some bicycle routes, parking meter rules and creating or modifying so-called Private Transportation Programs…

The legislation was introduced by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai, who had previously considered placing a charter amendment on the ballot to split up the transit agency but instead opted to move forward with this “compromise” proposal.

“Supervisor Peskin and I have worked on this legislation for over a year,” Safai said. “The genesis of this, colleagues, was the general frustration that many of us have felt on this board with our interactions with the SFMTA.”

The legislation was approved in an 11-0 vote…

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson, told the Examiner Tuesday that “we look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors as we continue to make progress on improving all transportation options and making the streets safer for everyone.”

He added that the new appeal process covers “certain MTA decisions, including Residential Parking Permits, color curb coordination, meter time limits, and commuter shuttles.”…(more)

Congratulations to all our readers and supporters! You made this happen by your efforts and demands for changes and improvements to the agency that had until now very little oversight and no reason to listen to complaints or demands. We still have a lot of work to do but now there is a way forward. Put together your request, get the backing of your supervisor and put in your requests. You should expect to see a new noticing system and a new civility at the department. If things do not see any improve, let the authorities know. Details on what is covered are here:
Legislative language: Leg Ver5, Legislative digest: Leg Dig Ver5

 

 

 

 

City says Central Subway contractor laid down 3.2 miles of the wrong kind of track, prompting new delay

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Construction contractors on the $1.6 billion Central Subway project laid down 3.2 miles of the wrong kind of steel track, The City is alleging in a letter obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

In the April 19 letter, The City ordered contractor Tutor Perini to pull out that track and lay higher-strength steel down in its place.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency staff wrote to Tutor Perini alleging the contractor laid down 17,000 linear feet of “standard strength” steel, allegedly violating a contract with The City calling for “high strength” steel. The SFMTA said the higher-strength steel was selected to last longer before maintenance is required.

“This is not a safety issue,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose wrote in a statement. But it may lead to another Central Subway delay…(more)

We appreciate the work the Supervisors have done on implementing their ability to review and possibly reverse some SFMTA Board decisions. Now can we figure out a way to take away their SFMTA contracts and oversight on construction projects next? San Francisco taxpayers are not getting the value they deserve from the SFMTA when they repeatedly mismanage projects as they have done with this one.

A while ago we were looking at the horrible slalom run on Potrero Avenue and the excuse we got for those mistakes was that there was no full time project manager on the job. It seems they had one project manager assigned to two projects at the same time.

What more reason do we have to stop adding new projects and digging up more streets before the ones underway are complete? And don’t tell us the funding depends on it. That excuse has no validity coming from the insatiable SFMTA.

June Measure Calls for Bay Area Bridge Toll Hikes

By Jodie Hernandez : nbcnews – excerpt (includes video)

Night-Bridge

Crossing the old span of the Bay Bridge into San Francisco photo by zrants

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/June-Measure-Calls-For-Bay-Area-Bridge-Toll-Hikes-481987161.html

Some quotes:
1. “We are asking people to dig a little bit deeper to pay for projects that won’t come from any other source.” Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council. (Most people do not believe it is possible to pay for all the promised improvements using bridge tolls alone. We have evidence to the contrary.)

2. “expanding the express lane network.” (this is where it hits everyone who doesn’t cross a bridge, including the peninsula residents, many of who are opposing RM3.)

3. Two big problems… It won’t work and it isn’t fair. Transit Advocate, David Schonbrunn.

4. Only 18% of the money in the toll measure directly effects bridge corridors. David Schonbrunn. www.occupymtc.org

Ford GoBike again eyes the 24th street BART plaza

By Elizabeth Creely : missionlocal – excerpt

Harrison17th

Ford Gobikes on Harrison, across the street from a public bike rack. There are a few of those GoBikes near public bike stands on Harrison. photo by zrants

…If the proposal for the installation at 24th Street BART is accepted, the location will come equipped with the newest addition to Ford GoBike’s fleet: electric bikes.

There’s no date set for the new 24th street BART docks.

Depending on the location, either BART or the SFMTA has to officially sign off on the proposal before the installation can begin, and each agency has an approval process.

Jim Allison, BART spokesperson, said BART’s goal is to have 8 percent of its passengers accessing the trains by bicycle by 2022.  Already the agency has partnered with GoBike at 16th Street, and Allison said they “will review/approve any equipment on our property.”

If the dock is located on the street, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency will mail notices to all addresses within 250 feet about any pending installation, according to Heath Maddox, senior planner with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Walsh acknowledges some lingering discontent with the service.

“Not everyone’s going to be happy,” she said in the plaza. But she also thinks that this time, the overall reaction might be different.

“Now people are used to seeing the bikes,” she said. “and we can show that people are using these bikes, and that they are providing a service. And so we’re back to engage in the conversation again.”… (more)

RELATED:
Who is taking whom for a ride?, by Joe Eskenazi

May Day Media Headline Blitz

Today marks the beginning of a tense month in California politics as we line up to vote on a lot of issues that may effect the social fabric of our state. We will touch on the media headlines regarding the two major ballot initiatives that are in the news us today.

The SB-1 Gas Tax Repeal: for the November Ballot
Conservatives Turn in 940,000 Signatures for Anti-Gas Tax Initiative
California gas tax repeal heading for the November ballot, campaign says

Regional Measure 3 – A Bridge Toll increases and changes in the voter approval process for future bridge toll decisions:
Voters to Decide on Toll Increases for Bay Area Bridges  Bay Area voters in June will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to pay another dollar in tolls on seven bridges starting next year, according to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority… (more)

We have to take exception to this statement. This bill does not add another dollar it adds at least $3.00. This is an example of how the media is being used to sell lies to the public. But the public is on high alert for FAKE NEWS so they are a lot less gullible than they were during previous election cycles.

Beyond cost of living increases, RM3 authorizes the Bay Area Toll Authority to increase tolls above $3 without consulting the electorate, if deemed necessary to service BATA’s huge debt.The law makes the agency’s first commitment to its creditors.) 

To understand RM3, its opponents considered what it would fund as well as how the funds will be raised. They are promising projects to all the counties in the hopes of convincing enough people to support the bill, NBC is labeling a $1 bridge toll increase.

One of the promises made to San Mateo commuters is that their share of the funds would be used to create express toll lanes on 101 from San Francisco to Mateo County, I-680 and other highways in the region. This does little for commuters, while it adds more to the coffers of the MTC. Will the voters see this?

 

 

What do MTC, Ford GoBikes, Motivate LLC and Related Real Estate have in common and why bring it up now?

Photos of GoBikes in the Mission by zrants

It is important to understand the role, the mission and methods of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) that unleashed this invasion on our streets and is now trying to convince the voters to pony up more money for more of the same through RM3, the $3 bridge toll.

People are complaining about the proliferation of GoBikes and the contract that brought them to our city. The subject moved into the Mayoral race when Supervisor Breed was recently credited with removing a station near her abode.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission,(MTC) signed an agreement with Motivate LLC that created a public/private partnership in 2015.
BAY AREA BIKE SHARE PROGRAM AGREEMENT between METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION and BAY AREA MOTIVATE, LLC
Or download it here: Program_Agreement

The agreement supposedly obligates bay area communities to hand over public space for the exclusive use of Motivate’s privately owned and managed bike-share stations. As we understand it, Motivate is supposed to share the profit with the local transit authority after a certain level of profit is realized. You would probably need an audit to find out whether this relationship is paying for the space it is taking from the public.

Since MTC is going to the ballot for more money in June, it is important to understand how they operate. Where does MTC get authority to make a deal to privatize public space by handing it over to a private corporation without pubic knowledge and is this the proper role of the MTC? If you don’t approve of MTCs activities, you might want to oppose RM3.

The June 5 ballot includes Regional Measure 3 and a $3 bridge toll increase. The measure includes language that would peg future bridge toll increases to the inflation rate and bypass further voter approval of those increases. Regional Measure 2 increased the property tax and pegged that to inflation. Who benefits?

Why I oppose the Bay Area $3 bridge toll hike

Op-Ed by DeSaulnier : eastbaytimes – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Weekend traffic on the Western span of the Bay Bridge at Sunset photo by zrants

The region urgently needs new investment in transportation. But Regional Measure 3 is not the answer.

Regional Measure 3, the $3 bridge toll hike on the June ballot that would raise money for transportation improvements, is a highly flawed initiative born out of dysfunctional policy-making. Voters should reject it.

There is no question that the San Francisco Bay Area urgently needs new investment in transportation. The fact that many voters are willing to pay substantially higher tolls reflects their frustration with traffic congestion. Workers are facing too many hours stuck in traffic, stressful commutes in crammed BART cars, lost family time and reduced productivity.

As I and others have argued, if the Bay Area fails to address the challenges of traffic and affordable housing, we will lose our competitive edge. However, Regional Measure 3 is not the answer…

The Bay Bridge, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission headquarters acquisition and renovation, and the Transbay Terminal are projects that have involved billions in cost-overruns and undermined confidence in governments’ ability to plan and prioritize.

Now is the time to stop this cycle of waste and frustration and to engage in serious and coordinated planning, because the Bay Area needs and deserves better. Without greater transparency and accountability, Regional Measure 3 would result in, at best, moderate improvements in the short run, but no meaningful solution in the long term…

Regional Measure 3 would result in, at best, moderate improvements in the short run, but no meaningful solution in the long term…

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, serves on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and previously served as chair of the California Senate and Assembly transportation committees... (more)

VOTE NO ON RM3. This controversial bill has been cobbled together by a regional group of transportation politicians with no successful track record that has lost the public trust due to cost overruns on wasteful projects like the Transbay Terminal and MTC headquarters.

VOTE NO ON RM3.  The laundry list of projects was created to offer something to everyone, but no guaranteed deliverables, and the bill contains a poison pill that will allow unchecked inflationary rate hikes in the future without voter approvals.

VOTE NO ON RM3.  If passed this bill will add considerably to the cost of living in the Bay Area and will guarantee inflationary rate hikes on all goods that are delivered by trucks that cross the bridges.

VOTE NO ON RM3. This bill, in conjunction with gas tax hikes, will make commuting into the city impossible for many employees, who will choose jobs in the suburbs closer to their new homes.

VOTE NO ON RM3. As DeSaulnier points out, Regional Measure 3 is a flawed bill that provides:

  • No framework for performance measures or oversight to gauge progress
  • No vision for how residents and commuters will benefit.
  • No analysis to show how congestion on major corridors would be reduced, or when the improvements may kick in.

YIMBY-backed Breed intervened to remove bikeshare station on her own block

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Photos of competing shared bike companies that are cluttering our streets with too many rental options be fore the latest invasion of the electric toys that are cluttering our sidewalks. photo by zrants.

Mayoral candidate London Breed, the sole endorsee of the Yes in My Backyard group, seems to have gone full NIMBY.

The Board of Supervisors president used her influence to request the removal a Ford GoBike bikeshare station — yes, in her own backyard. (OK, technically, the station is on Haight and Pierce streets, around the corner from Breed’s apartment.)

That’s quite a turn for Breed, as much hay has been made of the split between YIMBY newcomers who wish to see housing built and longtime neighbors allegedly claiming “Not in my backyard!” to slap back new housing and transportation, particularly against state Sen. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 827… (more)

Maybe bike station removals should be London Breed’s theme. Instead of promising a chicken in every pot, she can offer a fast path to bike station removal on your block if she is elected Mayor. That is almost as good as Angela Alioto’s promise to remove the Department Heads. Of course the easiest course of action is to stop installing the stations now.

Muni Metro stop at Warriors’ new SF arena is one pricey platform

By Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

IMG_3178.JPG

Arena with passing T-Line car going up at 16th and Third Street shot by zrants

The cost of building a bigger Muni Metro platform to handle fans at the Mission Bay arena is growing faster than the Warriors’ injury list.

The plan is to tear out the 130-foot-long Metro platform, just down Third Street from the under-construction Chase Center, and build a 320-foot replacement right in front of the arena.

Building the new platform, however, is just part of the job…

Muni will spend an additional $11 million for new Metro cars, bringing the total cost of setting up light-rail service to the arena to $62 million.

This is a massive undertaking, and my chief concern is how much money the arena will really generate for the city to pay this back,” said Art Torres, a member of the Municipal Transportation Agency board.

Torres’ concern is prompted in part by news that Muni already is coming up short on the project and will need borrow $10 million from the city to complete the job.

Muni will spend an additional $11 million for new Metro cars, bringing the total cost of setting up light-rail service to the arena to $62 million.

“This is a massive undertaking, and my chief concern is how much money the arena will really generate for the city to pay this back,” said Art Torres, a member of the Municipal Transportation Agency board… (more)

Government needs to remember that the real world does not exist on a piece of paper and a handshake with the biggest money man in the room. Government officials need to serve the people not themselves.

Even if money did grow on trees, willing contractors do not. Labor is lacking and not easy to import with the current climate in Washington. Materials and financing costs are going through the roof, and the mood among likely voters favors big changes at City Hall.

“Leno’s first-place finish was “a real boost” for him and “a vote for change at City Hall,” said former Supervisor David Campos, the committee’s chair.”

The likelihood of passing another regional tax and spend scheme among the nine county voters is getting slimmer with the increase in weather temperatures followed by the increase in anger and frustration with the current policies and practices that got us where we are now.

Trust in government is at an all time low. If San Francisco is to survive as we know it, a change must come. Spending $62 million dollars to shift priorities to a sports arena that will serve only the wealthy few who can afford expensive tickets, is a bad idea in this climate. A recent D-10 Superviosor race found NOT SUPPORT among hte candidates at who spoke.

A number of departments heads may soon find themselves without their exorbitant salaries if these schemes continue to roll through. The residents will have the chance to vote against a litany of controversial  projects and waste by opposing Regional Measure 3, the bridge toll $3 increase.

California voters may also have the chance to repeal SB 1 that could roll back the gas tax that is raising the costs of products being brought in on trucks that are hardest hit by this tax. $25 dollar burgers and $8 avocado toast is not joke to the people who are already struggling to stay in their homes.

These two bills alone will determine how the city and region continues to deal with the traffic problems and the transportation schemes they are developing. Our state representatives who are pushing unpopular legislation in Sacramento may also find themselves out of work as the voters will have the chance to replace them soon. Senator Josh Newman is facing a recall election, after being blamed for casting the deciding vote that passed SB1.

More changes in Sacramento may come as a result of Scott Wiener’s unpopular SB 827 bill that would up-zone the entire state around a transit-based up-zoning scheme by “allowing  the state to seize control of your neighborhood” planning and zoning decisions.

With the recent power grabs in Washington, citizens may not be prepared to relinquish any more powers to any government bodies they feel are chipping away at their personal freedoms by centralizing control.