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April 3, 2018 > Keeping promises to voters

Keeping promises to voters

By Supervisor Richard Valle

The Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) has a long history of fulfilling commitments to voters in Alameda County. As the second agency in the State to pass a transportation sales tax measure in 1986, Alameda CTC has also subsequently passed two additional transportation sales tax measures (2000 with 81.5% voter support and 2014 with over 70% support) with some of the highest voter approval ratings in the state.

Keeping the trust of the voters is what drives all of our work at the Alameda CTC. This is evident in the delivery of major capital improvement projects, such as the first express lanes in the Bay Area and Northern California, extending BART to Warm Springs in Fremont to allow for BART to go to San Jose, extending BART to Dublin/Pleasanton, and the Oakland Airport, the first Bus Rapid Transit project in the East Bay and Northern California, goods movement projects at the Port of Oakland, and highway interchange and mainline improvements on every major freight corridor in the county.

Alameda CTC has been a leader in bicycle and pedestrian funding for trails and local safety improvements, senior and disabled transportation, safe routes to schools, affordable student transit pass programs and transit operations. These are only a few examples of how Alameda CTC keeps its promises to voters. In addition, Triple A ratings from Fitch and Standard & Poor, and 100% clean audits as verified by independent auditors and the Independent Watchdog Committee also attest to Alameda CTCÕs performance in fulfilling voter promises.

Alameda CTC has one remaining project to deliver from its 1986 voter-approved sales tax measure: the East-West Connector Project in Union City and related road improvements in Fremont. This project has had a long history of development by several agencies, including Caltrans, Alameda CTC and now Union City. As a major local and complex project, the project design and costs have increased over time, as occurs with many projects once the site conditions are analyzed and detailed designs are developed.

The complexity of the project includes right of way needs, hazardous materials clean up due to past developments in the area, railroad and BART facilities which require rail-specific design features, and local creeks and waterways. These complexities have resulted in an estimated project cost of $320 million, which far exceeds the $109 million of local funds currently programmed to the project. Because the East-West Connector Project is a local project, funding availability from federal, state and regional sources are limited. As such, Alameda CTC performed an analysis to identify potential funding sources that could be eligible for the project from local sources to determine if there was a possibility to fulfill the commitment to the final project in the 1986 voter-approved expenditure plan.

On March 22, the Alameda CTC approved $2.5 million out of the existing 1986 voter approved project funds to complete designs for the roadway, and additional funds to evaluate if the environmental document needs to be updated and to update the traffic analysis. The City has until 2020 to see if it can complete the design and return to the Alameda CTC to address if the project can move forward.

Alameda CTC is committed to open and transparent planning and programming processes. No funds have been allocated to uses inconsistent with the voter approved expenditure plans. All programming actions now and in the future will be conducted through our open and transparent processes established at the agency that have enabled us to plan, fund and deliver essential transportation projects as approved by voters.

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