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A Dissenting Take on the Bay Area's Proposed $3 Bridge Toll Hike

Beware of transportation officials promising traffic reductions, according to this opinion piece.
April 15, 2018, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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In June, Bay Area voters in nine counties will consider Regional Measure 3 (RM3), which asks whether tolls should be raised by $3 on seven Bay Area bridges to generate funding for BART and other public transit and mobility projects in the region.

Irvine Dawid first reported on the potential ballot measure for Planetizen in December 2016, following up again with developments in October 2017 and January 2018 as RM3 picked up momentum toward the ballot. RM3 already has the support of the East Bay Times and organizations like the Bay Area Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and SPUR.

David Schonbrunn, president of the transit advocacy organization TRANSDEF, argues that RM3 will fail to deliver its promised congestion reductions.

The sponsor of the measure, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), decides on our region’s transportation priorities. Traffic conditions in the Bay Area have steadily worsened over the last few decades, despite the many billions of dollars spent by MTC. If MTC knew how to cut traffic, it would have done so by now. Slogans like “We must do something” ignore this. Doing the same things that haven’t worked before won’t help now.

According to Schonbrunn, the only thing that will reduce traffic is a reduction in solo driving, but the "MTC and the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) have continuously spent our resources to facilitate solo driving rather than transit." Schonbrunn suggests sending a message to the MTC by voting now, and suggests Seattle as a model for planning in a way that inspires more commuters to leave their cars at home.

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Published on Saturday, April 14, 2018 in The Mercury News
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