VTA considers shifting Measure B funding from highways to transit; San Jose considers opposition

In response to strong advocacy by residents motivated by the climate emergency, led by youth participating in the global climate movement – VTA will start to consider the possibility of diverting transportation Measure B funding from highways and expressways to local transit.

VTA proposes “climate emergency” legislative priority

At its board meeting on Thursday, VTA will start to consider the policy as part of its legislative agenda (Agenda 7.2), and may talk generally about the role of a climate emergency in the sustainability report (Agenda 7.4).

The proposed legislative agenda includes this “Climate Emergency: VTA will support legislative efforts to avert climate change by federal, state, regional and local entities. We will support efforts to reduce single occupant vehicle use in policies and practice in our own organization as well as our local cities, counties and transportation partners.”

But San Jose City Council proposes opposition to highway funds shift

Later this month, at its board meeting on January 28th, San Jose City Council will consider a resolution to oppose shifting funds from highways to transit. This was initially scheduled for today, January 9, but was postponed by the Mayor.

Santa Clara County’s transportation funding Measure B, passed in 2016 included $1.5 billion in funding for highways and expressways, and only $500 Million to run local transit.   Since the measure passed, VTA’s budget woes have resulted in cutbacks to planned improvements to bus and light rail service even before the improvements rolled out, and transit ridership has continued to fall.

Recently, the City of San Jose and County of Santa Clara have passed climate emergency resolutions, acknowledging the mounting evidence of harm from climate change, and the urgent need to take action.  

Transportation has become the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California. The state has recently changed its flagship environmental law based on robust evidence that the amount of miles driven is the most important way to assess the environmental impact of transportation.

What you can do

If you agree that action to address the climate emergency justifies changing funding priorities to increase spending on transit and reduce funding on projects that increase driving, send a note to the VTA Board and – especially if you are a San Jose resident – to San Jose City Council (see contact information below).

If you have time, come to the VTA board and speak in favor of a climate emergency declaration that motivates change in spending priorities. The meeting starts at 5:30 at County HQ, 70 West Hedding Street in San Jose.

Board Secretaryboard.secretary@vta.org
Glenn HendricksEmail: hendrickscouncil@sunnyvale.ca.gov
Cindy ChavezEmail: cindy.chavez@bos.sccgov.org
Magdalena CarrascoEmail: District5@sanjoseca.gov
Chappie JonesEmail: District1@sanjoseca.gov
Lan DiepEmail: District4@sanjoseca.gov
Sam LiccardoEmail: mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov
Raul PeralezEmail: District3@sanjoseca.gov
John McAlisterEmail: John.McAlister@mountainview.gov
Rob RennieEmail: rrennie@losgatosca.gov
Larry CarrEmail: larry.carr@morganhill.ca.gov
Rich TranEmail: rtran@ci.milpitas.ca.gov
Dave CorteseEmail: dave.cortese@bos.sccgov.org

San Jose City Council
Sam Liccardomayoremail@sanjoseca.gov
Chappie Jonesdistrict1@sanjoseca.gov
Sergio Jimenezdistrict2@sanjoseca.gov
Raul Peralezdistrict3@sanjoseca.gov
Lan Diepdistrict4@sanjoseca.gov
Magdalena Carrascodistrict5@sanjoseca.gov
Dev Davisdistrict6@sanjoseca.gov
Maya Esparzadistrict7@sanjoseca.gov
Sylvia Arenasdistrict8@sanjoseca.gov
Pam Foleydistrict9@sanjoseca.gov
Johnny Khamisdistrict10@sanjoseca.gov