Friday, February 15, 2008

Uninspired VTP 2035

Next Thursdy, the VTA Congestion Management and Planning Committee will decide whether to forward the VTP 2035 project list to the Board of Directors for consideration. The board then will decide whether to forward that list to the MTC, which will be evaluated and be included as a part of the Regional Transportation Plan.

Unfortunately, VTA has done nothing to solicit public input on VTP 2035. The deadline for project submittal to MTC is March 5.

The project list includes a variety of highway and transit projects. Some new highway projects (not proposed in prior VTPs) include widening of 101 between CA 85 (Mountain View) and Embarcadero Road, as well as a new toll highway on CA 152 between CA 156 and 101 in the Gilroy area.

As for the transit projects, almost all of them are carried over from the last VTP (actually were proposed as a part of the 2000 Measure A). The only new transit project is the San Jose Diridon station expansion with a price tag of $400 million. Sadly, fraudulent studies and prior agreements have ruled out alternatives to the BART project for further consideration in this RTP.

The RTP has to be fiscally constrained, which means there must be enough funding in the future to support all of the proposed projects. VTA's proposal includes a new local revenue source (a new sales tax that has yet to be approved) as a part of the overall revenue.

The RTP was promised to be visionary and to address issues such as global warming. However, nothing from VTA is visionary. Most Santa Clara County politicians are still stuck in a ill-conceived 8-year old transit plan, and only debate what projects should be excluded from it to pay for the money sucking BART extension. Fortunately, voters do have the veto power and can demand a more visionary plan, free of delusional influence from Carl Guardino and Ron Gonzales.

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