By Wyatt Hull
Posted February 7, 2007
Summary: Advertised as the results of months of public input at workshops held throughout the county, the TFTF Draft Plan reveals the Regional Transportation Commission’s continued agenda of imposing artificially structured choices upon Santa Cruz County citizens.
In early February 2007, Fred Keeley’s Transportation Funding Taskforce (TFTF) released the Draft Transportation Funding Improvement Plan for Santa Cruz County. Among its plans to ostensibly fix long mismanaged congestion, two costly ballot measures would artificially compete in a winner-take-all vote, even if both are passed. Perhaps we should start referring to this as “Transportation Idle”?
Advertised as the results of months of public input at workshops held throughout the county, the TFTF Draft Plan reveals the Regional Transportation Commission’s continued agenda of imposing artificially structured choices upon Santa Cruz County citizens.
Santa Cruz Sentinel writer next six weeks under a facade of transparent discussion and “conversation”, the restructuring of Santa Cruz political decision making will become increasingly evident. Again and again consensus building groups reach predetermined, Agenda 21 (pdf) driven outcomes that strengthen the power and financing of non-elected, bureaucratic regional committees like the SCCRTC.
While the various sustainability groups will espouse the benefits of alternative transportation packages found within the TFTF Draft Plan as the only viable option to “solve” their artificially imposed crisis, they fail to acknowledge the perpetual economic burden these programs will place upon taxpaying citizens.
Passenger rail systems require massive subsidies to operate and will never become profitable in the suburban areas that form Santa Cruz County. Only future tax hikes would keep many of these plans economically viable. Neither coastal access trails, nor even a increase to Metro service will effectively alleviate commuter congestion along Highway 1. Only by forcing Santa Cruz citizens to structure their lives around alternative transportation methods, and effectively limiting our individual liberties and personal mobility, would these plans appear to be economically rational alternatives.
And when you compare “Transportation Idle” with the longstanding plans for regional Smart Growth in Santa Cruz County, the forced choices and rationales begin to make sense. (For more on Smart Growth, see Michael Park’s article The Ties Between Transportation and Housing.)
Here is one available option Fred Keeley and associates won’t offer up:
Eliminate non-elected regional bureaucracies that force these choices upon us. Return the responsibility of transportation management to our elected officials, who ought to be resolved against taking questionable monetary incentives from the multi-million dollar “Sustainable Transformation ” funds written into these plans.
But who would vote themselves off “Transportation Idle”?
“Transportation Idle” May Split Voters — Again by Wyatt Hull