According to California Department of Finance, the population of the Bay Area has grown twice as fast in the last five years (2010-2014) than it did in the previous ten (2000-2010). Given that the Bay Area is only growing in its attraction, the traffic that we’re experiencing today will only get worse. Unfortunately, within 10-15 years experts predict that there will be complete traffic gridlock if we don't make investments in mass transit.
Most politicians in Sacramento and Washington are out of touch. Most of them are preoccupied debating potential timelines for a $68B bullet train stretching through California. I am opposed to that spending and rather it be spent on improving our local transportation system.
Accordingly, I propose to redistribute the $68B that is allocated for the bullet train among the congressional districts so that local municipalities can determine how to invest it. If divided evenly, that would leave approximately $1.3B per district for our district.
Here is a five point plan that would provide a blueprint of how we might spend that money:
- Establish a mass transit system on Highways 85, 101 and 237. We need transit to go to where the jobs are. Many local West and North Valley Mayors have called for such a transit system, including light rail running down the median on 85.
- Build a rapid-bus transit lane in municipalities and invest in state of the art buses and more bus routes. We need to provide buses as an option for everybody and not just individuals who work at big companies and have private bus service.
- We need ride sharing taxis or other ride sharing plans that can take individuals from their homes to mass transit. Portland, Oregon can serve as a model. Right now, many of our mass transit systems are not easily accessible.
- Expand Bart to San Jose and Santa Clara. We need to make sure we are extending the Bart loop as far as possible.
- Add additional lanes at the intersection of Highway 880 and Highway 237 to make it easier for Fremont and Milpitas commuters who are headed to the peninsula.
These solutions, if executed well, could make an immediate impact on our lives. It’s time to tell for our national and state leadership to heed the counsel of city and county leaders. Let’s spend money on infrastructure, but let’s do it in a way that’s localized, responsible, and helpful.