Board Unanimously Adopts Visionary Transportation Expenditure Plan; Business and Environmental Groups Declare Support
Walnut Creek, CA – The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) Board unanimously adopted a transformative plan for the next 30 years at last night’s board meeting.
The proposed $2.9 billion Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP) is the culmination of months of extensive public outreach, stakeholder engagement, and advocate input. The plan focuses on innovative strategies and new technologies to promote a strong economy, protect the environment, and enhance the quality of life for all of Contra Costa’s diverse communities.
“We have moved from a Measure C, which started us on a path of tying transportation and development. That was the first big step. Then Measure J went further along that line,” said CCTA Commissioner and Danville Councilmember Newell Arnerich. “That’s why we are sitting here tonight talking about trying to do something different. We are putting more money than we ever have – in real dollars – into bike and pedestrian projects. And we are going to do it in a smart way. I know people want to define transformative in different ways – this is a big deal.
“This plan is the result of serious thought, care and effort to take into account the vast array of input that we’ve had, and to make compromises and stretch in areas that are uncomfortable,” said CCTA Commissioner and Pleasant Hill Councilmember David Durant. “It’s an honor to be here with this group of people, working on something like this. This process is the most inclusive that I’ve ever seen.”
The proposed plan contains unprecedented funding for new technologies and for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in every part of the county. It commits substantial funding to improve BART service, increase access to BART stations, and add new BART cars. It also significantly increases direct funding to local municipalities to maintain and repair local streets and roads.
At the meeting, advocates for the business, environment, and disabled communities spoke up in support of the plan and thanked the board for their leadership and inclusiveness in its development.
“The process has been very inclusionary and considerate,” said Debbie Toth, Executive Director of Rehabilitation Services of Northern California. “I’m incredibly grateful for the support that we’ve had in the arena of accessible transportation for everyone.”
“We are in support of the proposed plan,” said Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director of Bike East Bay. “Thank you for your support for better bicycling!”
“The goal of this measure is to improve transportation and to improve mobility – the movement of people and goods in Contra Costa County. There are significant improvements [in the plan] that will be made by this measure across modes,” said Kristin Connelly, President and CEO of the East Bay Leadership Council.
The plan will now be presented to each of the cities for review and approval, before a final plan is adopted by the Board and then submitted to the Board of Supervisors for final approval and submission to the November 2016 ballot.
“There is $117 million for East County Corridor projects,” said Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick. “Right now there is a $17 million improvement for Vasco Road. We don’t have the money to build a brand new four-lane freeway. It’s about a $1 billion project.”
“Sure we can get some state and federal matching funds. But not unless we put in a whole lot ourselves,” he added. “It will help us eliminate the cul-de-sac feeling we’re experiencing, now.”
“The people who spoke to us said get the trucks off Camino Diablo and out of downtown Byron,” he added. “So that became the top priority. We will make safety improvements to Vasco Road and the Byron Highway.”
Chair of Transplan, the East County division of the CCTA, Doug Hardcastle said, “While the plan doesn’t include funds for Route 239 from Brentwood to Tracy, the $117 million is a very nice first step. It’s been something in the plans for over 40 years.”
“Armstrong to Vasco will be a new road and will be a catalyst for bringing jobs to the Byron Airport and area,” he added.
No other region in the county is collecting a developer fee for the state and federal highways, like East County has been for the past 25 years. Those funds have helped pay for the Highway 4 Bypass and other regional roads. It is currently $20,000 per new home. Suggestions have been made to Concord that they also collect a developer fee on the new homes that are planned for the reuse of the Concord Naval Weapons Station to help pay for improvements to Highways 4 and 242.
About The Contra Costa Transportation Authority
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.