County of Santa Clara
Office at the Board of Supervisors

County Government Center, East wing
70 West Hedding Street 10th Floor
San Jose, California 95110

Liz Kniss
Supervisor Fifth District

April 22, 2004

VTA Board of Directors
3331 North First Street
San Jose, CA 95134

Dear VTA Board of Directors,


On Tuesday, April 20, 2004, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors considered recommendations relating to the Valley Transportation Authority's (VTA) VTP 2030 Program allocations and project lists. At this meeting, the County Roads Department identified unmet needs, including a gap in funding for sound waIls along expressways and pavement management projects. following the discussion, the Supervisors directed its VTA delegates to convey their concerns and recommendations for the VTP 2030 at the VTA Board of Directors' Workshop on April 23, 2004.

The Board of Supervisors endorsed the VTP 2030 Program and made the following recommendations:

(1) Direct VTA staff to develop a financial/expenditure plan, for illustrative purposes, showing which 2000 Measure A transit projects VTA will fund. The financial/expenditure plan should use maximum available debt service and should stress the importance of geographic equity;

(2) Consider fully allocating Proposition 42 STIP funds to non-transit programs;

(3) Include language in the VTP 2030 Program that supports paratransit service,

welfare-to-work programs, and identifies operating assistance funds to maintain current bus and light rail services until mid-2007. This is to cover the gap that exists prior to a proposed revenue measure on the November 2006 ballot; and

(4) Direct VTA staff to provide a breakdown of how the $550 million in bond proceeds from the 2000 Measure A are currently used.

Request for Financial/Expenditure Transit Plan

It is the Supervisors understanding that after the VTA Board of Directors adopts the VTP 2030 project lists at the April 23, 2004 workshop, VTA will release a draft VTP 2030 document in June for public review. The VTA Board will adopt the final plan in August 2004. It is anticipated that the VTA Board will also establish priorities or the order in which projects will be funded.

The Supervisors are concerned that many of the projects promised to voters in the 2000 Measure A plan will not be built because of the economic downturn as well as VTA's current commitment to make the BART extension operational by 2015. Delivering the BART extension on this accelerated schedule will require substantial borrowing that will defer or eliminate other Measure A projects. The Supervisors want to ensure that geographic equity is addressed in the delivery schedule of Measure A projects.

A financial /expenditure transit plan for the 2000 Measure A program will help us to understand the fiscal arid geographic equity impacts of project prioritization and scheduling. The VTA Board of Directors and the public must be fully aware of what VTA can build with available funds. Adopting the complete list of the 2000 Measure A Transit Program is meaningless without a financial/ expenditure plan. The Supervisors request that a financial/expenditure plan be reviewed by the VTA Board in June, prior to the release of the draft VTP 2030 plan.

Proposition 42 Reallocation

VTA staff has recommended that the future Proposition 42 STIP (Prop 42) funds of $426 million be allocated as follows: $319 million (75%) to highway projects and $107 million to the BART extension (25%). The Board of Supervisors recommends that VTA fully allocate Prop 42 funds towards countywide non-transit projects.

There is a critical unmet need for sound walls along county expressways and for local matching funds for pavement management projects. VTA staff is proposing a $10 million allocation to VTA's sound barrier program. These funds only apply to freeway projects and do not include any funding for new expressway sound walls identified in the Expressway Study. The Expressway Study identified the need for over $25 million in new sound walls. In addition, the County and other local agencies have difficulties in raising local matching funds for projects like pavement management programs.

Given that communities have identified a need for sound walls along the expressways a well as other local improvements, the Supervisors recommend that VTA fully allocate Prop 42 funds towards roadways and non-transit programs. Allocating STIP funds to such projects is consistent with the 2002 Measure B policy which stared that VTA would allocate STIP and Federal discretionary funds to non-transit projects. We understand that Prop 42 funds were not identified prior to August 29, 2000 (adoption of the thirty-six year Transportation Expenditure plan), so there is no legal obligation to spend these funds on only non-transit projects. However, VTA has the discretion to allocate Prop 42 funds at it wishes and the Supervisors prefer the 2002 Measure B policy.

Operating Assistance for Paratransit, Bus and Light Rail Service

The Supervisors support language in the VTP 2030 Plan that identifies funding for the paratransit and welfare-to-work programs. The language should also assure adequate funds for operating assistance that would maintain current bus and light rail service.

Many residents that the County serves depend on transit. We are concerned that VTA staff has not indicated how it plans to fund paratransit and welfare-to-work programs. It is fiscally wise to include such language because without it VTA may be unable to seek federal matching funds. In addition, VTA may still face potentially severe cuts in bus and light rail services next year, because VTA is not seeking additional revenue from the voters this November 2004. The next proposed date for a revenue measure is the General Election in November 2006. Therefore, a source of revenue is needed to fill the gap between mid-2005 and mid-2O07.

The Supervisors request that VTA identity the "Operating Assistance 2006-2036 Category” in the VTP 2030 Transit Program for potential operating assistance in order to prevent drastic cuts in 2005. If VTA staff has already identified other revenue sources, then this information should be submitted to the VTA Board in writing.

Breakdown of the $550 Million in Bond Proceeds

Lastly, the Supervisors requested a breakdown of the $550 million in bond proceeds issued last year from the 2000 Measure A funds. VTA staff provided us with this information after our Tuesday board meeting.


We urge the VTA Board of Directors to join the County's designated members in requesting the information needed to make sound policy decisions in the upcoming months. We also ask that the VTA Board of Directors consider our recommendation to fully allocate Prop 42 funding for non-transit programs. Finally, we request that VTA include language in the VTP 2030 Plan that identifies funding for the paratransit and welfare-to-work programs and language that identifies adequate funds to avoid potentially drastic cuts in bus and light rail service in the near future.


Liz Kniss
Vice-Chair, Board of Supervisors

County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors
Peter Kutras Jr., County Executive
Pete M. Cipolla, General Manager of VTA