Contra Costa Transportation Authority board meeting

I (Kenji) attended today’s CCTA meeting to make a comment on behalf of Bike Concord in support of a strong commitment for active transportation funding in the prospective transportation sales tax measure that CCTA is considering putting before voters soon (a renewal of 2004’s Measure J). Report below.

The full meeting packet, including agenda and attachments, is available online.  You can also get the agenda alone, a much smaller file.

Comment

Board members and members of staff, thank you for the opportunity to comment.

My name is Kenji Yamada.  I live and work in Concord and I’m here on behalf of Bike Concord, an organization of Concord residents working to make bicycle transportation safe and convenient in our community.

We are eager to see the Transportation Authority dedicate more resources to the mainstreaming of active transportation in our county.  We welcome and are prepared to spend considerable volunteer hours to support the Authority’s upcoming effort for a new county transportation sales tax measure.  In order to ensure that this revenue, if the measure is approved by voters, will support the quantity and quality of infrastructure necessary to make active transportation mainstream in Contra Costa – not just a supplement – we ask that the Authority commit to dedicate at least 15% of the measure’s revenue to active transportation infrastructure projects.

We learned at the community meeting recently held in Walnut Creek by Supervisors Andersen and Mitchoff that the County still uses Level of Service as the primary engineering criterion for the design of roadways.  This approach is not conducive to the goal of mainstreaming active transportation, as it privileges motor traffic flowthrough above other factors.  It thereby encourages the continued dominance of single-occupancy vehicle travel.  Instead, we urge the Authority to shift to Vehicle Miles Traveled, a measure which integrates other transportation modes and directly encourages the choice of modes other than single-occupancy motor vehicles.

Bike Concord’s minutes of the meeting

Made comment. There were no others.

Minutes of previous meeting unanimously approved.

Consent calendar items approved.

3.1 on Measure J renewal. Appointing members to the EPAC.

Expenditure Plan Advisory Committee (EPAC) had first meeting June 3.  This is a committee of various interest groups around the county and region who will convey their views to CCTA about how revenues from the Measure J renewal should be allocated, if put on the ballot and approved by voters.  One of them is Bike East Bay, Bike Concord’s partner at the regional level.  Bike East Bay’s EPAC representative Dave Campbell has invited me (Kenji) to serve as his alternate, so I’ll also be attending the meetings.

27 groups are represented on the EPAC so far. Meetings are at Embassy Suites next to PH BART. CCTA Director Iwasaki was at the June 3 meeting. It was an introduction/orientation. Next meeting is July 1. Meetings will be about 1/month thru Dec 2015. EPAC will receive project evaluations. August, September, October will be busiest months for the EPAC. CCTA will receive discussion draft (i.e. summary of EPAC discussions) in November. EPAC will be able to comment on the draft in December.

8 or 9 city managers will provide input to CCTA through RTPCs (regional sub-authorities under CCTA, e.g. TRANSPAC for Central Contra Costa County). Did not say whether Valerie Barone of Concord is one of them.

Randy Iwasaki is holding meetings with city staffs.

Newell Americh: Major office complexes should be represented on EPAC. They understand local commute needs and will have ideas about how to serve work transportation.

Staff: This category will be added to EPAC to be filled.

Julie Pierce: East Bay Leadership Committee represents this constituency on EPAC to some extent.

Gail Murray: Do city government opinions on expenditure go through EPAC? Where should AC Transit and BART go to give input on the Transportation Expenditure Plan?

Staff: No, they go through RTPCs. AC Transit included. But staff is looking to talk directly to BART.

Gail Murray: Some recommended EPAC members have no Contra Costa affiliation. They represent an urban view instead of the suburban situation we have in CCC.

Julie Pierce: We have urban areas in CCC too.

Don Tatzin. All EPAC members have equal voice, but do not all represent equal numbers of people. How will representative input be ensured?

Staff: Staff is building online tools for public input. Will be up soon, but can’t commit to a date yet.

David Durant: 1) Although a large committee is hard to manage, the EPAC has probably already passed that point. Job centers should have a voice. Many of them have their own internal transportation services, made necessary by the shortcomings of the public systems. More categories might be appropriate too. The wider the set of groups represented, the better. Logistical issues can be solved. 2) The Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP) is supposed to serve those who live and work in CCC. Those without strong roots in CCC should not have an equal voice. 3) Online input tools are useful, but they suffer from distortion effects that do not affect well-conducted polls as strongly. RTPCs and CCTA meetings are a better way for the public to have input directly to decision-makers.

Janet Abelson: 27 is a lot of categories for a working group. Some groups are not going to be heard. Who is going to administer meetings and make sure everyone is heard?

Julie Pierce: Facilitator David Early will make sure everyone is heard. All EPAC members have strong views, are likely to have no trouble speaking up and making sure they are heard. EPAC will not vote on any decisions. It will only issue recommendations. They will try to reach consensus, but this is not required.

Janet Abelson: Due date for RTPCs to provide input?

Staff: July 24.

Janet Abelson: That’s really soon. Why so much sooner than the EPAC closure date?

Staff: The date was set a long time ago. The RTPCs have a lot of input ready to go, having considered for a long time already. RTPCs’ input is needed early so it can be provided to the EPAC.

Julie Pierce: CCTA is seeking specific projects to be recommended, but also for expenditure category priorities, e.g. programs.

Staff: RTPC input will be rec’d end of July, compiled through August and then provided to EPAC. All input will be reported to CCTA as received. Commonalities and differences can then be analyzed.

Don Tatzin: Was also concerned about the July 24 deadline, but we need to move quickly. RTPC should get first input and let EPAC respond to that, rather than vice versa, since RTPCs have a better sense of what the public wants. (?)

Janet Abelson: RTPCs have not had time to consider much, beyond reacting to staff reports.

Dave Hudson: 27 is a lot, but San Ramon’s general plan update had about 32 people giving input and it turned out well. Better that EPAC members live in CCC, but should leave it to staff to decide which categories are best for the committee’s purpose. Gateway (?) has been trying for years to set up a business park along the IHT. It would be a mistake to leave the business community out of the discussion.

Tom Butt: More the merrier. Worst outcome would be for someone with an opinion to be left out.

Don Tatzin: Move to approve staff recommendation and ask chair and staff to note discussion.

Seconded.

Unanimous: Recommended EPAC members are appointed. Julie Pierce (CCTA chair) receives authority to designate interim EPAC members. Public health representation on EPAC is still to be filled.

4.A.14 on 2015-2016 budget.

Money has been moved between project stages, but project funding has not been lost.

Sales tax revenues have been rising for last 5 years. Gas tax revenue is down.

2014 had a lot of fed/state/local funding budgeted due to the Caldecott Tunnel work.

Etc. Financial reports presented are publicly available in the meeting packet.

Julie Pierce: Public comment will be opened after questions from commissioners.

Don Tatzin: APC has reviewed the budget carefully and is pleased with it. CCTA is in good financial condition and well positioned to meet or exceed public promises. Compliments staff on clear, competent report.

Robert Taylor: Mr. Kramer (?) said things are going to change a lot in CCC. Will property tax revenues increase?

Staff: 2.5% property tax revenue increase anticipated.

Newell Americh: Sales tax revenue has been conservatively estimated based on past performance. CCTA has projected revenue very accurately in the past.

Public comment invited. None offered.

Newell Americh: Move to approve staff report.

Don Tatzin: Second.

Unanimously approved.

Left the meeting at this point.

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