Regional Alliance For Transit
1000 Union Street, Suite 207
San Francisco, California 94133
Telephone: 415 440–6895
August 17, 2008
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
C/o Office of the Attorney General
1515 Clay Street
Oakland, California 94607
Dear Attorney General Brown:
Ten years ago, as Mayor, you attended a meeting of the Alameda County “Measure B Steering Committee” as it was deciding on a list of transportation projects using funds from a half cent sales tax over a twenty year period. You asked a farsighted question then, “how do all of these projects address global warming?” No answer was forthcoming at that meeting.
The state’s Regional Transportation Planning Agency for the Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, is now putting together its long range plan to spend $223 billion over the next quarter century. The Regional Alliance For Transit (RAFT), with other advocacy groups, wants our region to get serious at last about reducing greenhouse gases. One important way, in a Bay Area where transportation generates half the greenhouse emissions, is to reduce vehicle miles traveled, or VMT.
MTC has adopted it as a goal to “reduce emissions and VMT,” but we do not see how that will come about with the plan under consideration. If MTC does not get it right with this plan, it will be another five years before a new plan is considered.
Two points illustrate our concerns:
The first is that a key part of the MTC plan is to build a network of high–occupancy toll lanes. This is highway capacity expansion which will surely increase VMT, not reduce it.
Secondly, MTC is refusing to revise its list of unbuilt projects decided on years ago. VMT reduction will require a lot of new investment and the old “committed” list is heavy with projects that do little for climate protection, or will be counterproductive.
In sum, MTC has enormous powers in transportation, but is reluctant to use them for serious support of AB 32. We have written to MTC, but have not had a reply. A copy of our letter is enclosed for your review. We would be glad to hear your thoughts on these planning and spending issues, or discuss them with you, ten years after you raised them, in the Bay Area.