Elections have consequences – 3 updates for voters who care about sustainable transportation

Voting is under way for the June ballot, with a primary race for governor, and Regional Measure 3, an important transportation funding measure.

Also in the next few months, San Mateo County decision-makers will pick an expenditure plan for a November ballot measure that could fund Caltrain, SamTrans, Dumbarton improvements, bicycle and pedestrian safety and more – and San Mateo County voters have a chance now to weigh in.

Read on for information to help you cast your votes in June, and an opportunity to shape what San Mateo residents can vote on in November.

Do you know where California’s gubernatorial candidates stand on transportation and land use?

Friends of Caltrain teamed up with transportation advocates from across the state to ask all the candidates for governor questions about the Statewide Rail Network including Caltrain and High Speed Rail, transit-oriented development, walking and biking, transportation justice, autonomous vehicles, and more.

Do you want to know how Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, Delaine Eastin, John Chiang, Amanda Renteria stand on issues relating to transportation? See the candidates’ answers to inform your vote in the June Primary Election.

So far, the leading Republican candidates have not yet filled out the questionnaire – but a recent candidate forum in San Jose saw the top two Republicans sparring about who is the strongest supporter of an initiative to repeal the SB1 gas tax, a funding source which has just contributed toward Caltrain full electrification, SamTrans express buses, new cars for BART and Muni, and connecting BART to San Jose.

Check out the questionnaire and the reports on the Candidate forum to help with your vote.

Gubernatorial-questionnaire-banner 2

Regional Measure 3 – Good for the Caltrain Network and Bay Area transportation, better coordination needed for future transportation funding measures

The June ballot includes Regional Measure 3, a bridge toll increase that would fund a set of valuable improvements for the Caltrain Network and its regional connections including:

  • San Jose Diridon Station improvements to serve many more passengers with Caltrain, BART, VTA, ACE, Capital Corridor and eventually High Speed Rail
  • Downtown Extension to Transbay Terminal, which would greatly increase the ridership of the Caltrain line (and eventually High Speed Rail)
  • Design for Second Transbay Tube, greatly increasing transit and regional rail capacity
  • Dumbarton corridor transit improvements (Bus and Rail), providing regional connections to BART as well as ACE and Capitol Corridor.
  • BART to San Jose, connecting to Caltrain at Diridon station

Plus, good improvements to sustainable transportation, including:

  • New BART and Muni rail cars
  • Safe (Bike/Pedestrian) Routes to Transit and Bay Trail gap closures
  • Contribution to Clipper 2.0 which could be used to facilitate seamless multi-county transit connections

For these reasons, Friends of Caltrain (and our allies at San Francisco Transit Riders and TransForm) support Regional Measure 3.

That said, the process that assembled the projects in the ballot measure was much less strategic than it might have been, and much less strategic than the Bay Area needs in order to move toward a high-performing, high-ridership network of sustainable, climate-friendly transportation. See this blog post for more on Regional Measure 3, including thoughts on how the Bay Area region needs to do better with upcoming transportation funding.

Budget Challenge Tool – your chance to weigh in on the transportation expenditure plan for San Mateo County

At the local level, San Mateo County decision-makers are reaching out to voters to seek input on what will be included in a November transportation ballot measure. San Mateo County Supervisors and the SamTrans board are considering a half cent sales tax which could allocate $2.4 billion dollars for transportation, and they will decide on the expenditure plan in the next couple of months.

Get Us Moving – an agency initiative to collect feedback to guide the spending plan – has created an online Budget Challenge.  This is an important opportunity to express your preferences for what should be included in the ballot measure. Click here to use the Budget Challenge tool to express your views about transportation priorities.

Before you use the Budget Challenge tool – here is some food for thought for your choices. Friends of Caltrain is a part of the Transportation Equity Allied Movement Coalition (TEAMC), which is working to improve mobility, sustainability, and equity in San Mateo County.  To support the goals of mobility, sustainability, and equity, TEAMC a set of recommendations including:

  • Budgeting 60% of the measure to support transit including SamTrans and Caltrain (NOTE: 40% of the funds are needed just to maintain current service without cuts)
  • Allocating 10% of the measure’s funds to bicycling and walking projects and improvements
  • Establishing Complete Streets policy which would require all projects to accommodate walking and bicycling
  • Focusing highway improvements on transit, carpools, last-mile connections, and transportation demand management incentives to move more people in fewer cars, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Two pro tips for using the budget tool:

  • If you want to see highway projects focused on reducing cars, and you want roadway and grade separations projects to ensure safety for people walking and bicycling in addition to driving, use the comment field at the end to say these things (or add other comments)
  • If you don’t allocate the full $2.4 billion to start with, you can use the leftover for the funding category of your choice

Finally, you can learn more about the ballot measure and share your thoughts in person at an upcoming community meeting in Redwood City.

SMC Town Hall – South County
May 31, 2018
Thursday, 7:00PM
Fair Oaks Community Center
2600 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City