Only 9 running to represent Contra Costa respond; read the questions and their answers
A coalition of transportation advocacy groups from around the Bay published the results “Transportation Questionnaire” for Bay Area Candidates for Office that are on the March 5th 2024 Ballot which the public can view in its entirety here. People can view it by region at: East Bay; North Bay; Peninsula; San Francisco; and South Bay.
The project, led by Transbay Coalition, SPUR, Seamless Bay Area, San Francisco Transit Riders, Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, and Bike East Bay will help voters across the Bay Area make more informed decisions about candidates for local, state and federal office.
“Candidate’s stances on how to make it easier for people to get around the Bay Area and what needs fixing is essential information for voters,” said Carter Lavin, the project lead at the Transbay Coalition. “Transportation policies impact everyone and every elected official, no matter the office, has the power to make it easier, greener, safer, more affordable, just and accessible for people to get around– or they can make it harder. Voters deserve to know where the candidates vying for their vote stand.”
“To my knowledge, this is the only vetting process that really seeks to demystify where candidates stand on the region’s transportation issues, which is critical given how much public funding goes into transportation and the pivotal moment we are in” said Laura Tolkoff, Transportation Policy Director for SPUR, a public policy nonprofit rooted in the Bay Area.
Candidates were asked the following questions included in the survey:
- Which forms of transit and active transportation (bicycling, walking, scooters, wheelchair) do you use on a regular basis and for what types of trips– and why?
- Would you seek additional funding for Bay Area transit and what form of funding do you think makes sense?
- Public transit in the Bay Area is highly fragmented, with 27 transit agencies, each with different fares, schedules, branding, and customer information. Do you believe it should be a priority for the region to create an well-coordinated transit system? And as an elected leader or potential member of a local transit agency board, would you support state legislation that advances a more integrated, high ridership system, even if it diminishes local control?
- Transportation is the largest single source of carbon emissions in California, and in the Bay Area, and the largest share of transportation emissions come from single occupancy vehicles. What are your top priorities to achieve substantial reduction in transportation-related GHG emissions?
- The Bay Area still has road projects under development that would increase Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution. What decisions would you make about projects that increase VMT and pollution?
- Transit priority improvements are proven to make taking the bus faster and more reliable, while also reducing operating costs. Should local governments be able to stop transit priority improvements on local roads?
- What do you think are the most important actions that can be taken to make public transit comfortable, accessible, and safe for all communities?
- Traffic violence and deaths in California are increasing annually; in 2021, 4,258 people died in vehicle crashes, a 10.7% increase from the prior year. If elected, what will you do to reverse the trend, increase street safety, save lives and reduce injuries in our community? What policies or specific projects would make the greatest impact?
- What do you think are the biggest access and mobility needs for disadvantaged populations in your district, and how would you propose to solve them?
- In what circumstances do you support removing parking or repurposing vehicle travel lanes to create safer and more efficient bus, biking, and walking options? How do you propose balancing the demands of different interest groups who may disagree on how streets should be designed?
Contra Costa County Candidates Who Responded
So far, only the following candidates have responded to the questionnaire in the following races:
Assembly District 16 – Joseph Rubay 2024 Transp Qnr
State Senate District 3 – Jackie Elward 2024 Transp Qnr
Congressional District 10 – Mohamed Elsherbini 2024 Transp Qnr
No candidates have responded yet in the races for Contra Costa County Supervisor District 5, Assembly District 11, State Senate District 9 nor Congressional District 8.
“Over the next few years, the region faces important decisions about continuing on a path toward convenient, rider-friendly, accessible worldclass public transportation – or taking steps backward. Our elected officials at the local, state and federal levels will make key decisions steering our region on a path toward improvement or into a downward spiral. Voters deserve to know where candidates stand at this pivotal time,” said Adina Levin, Co-Founder and Advocacy Director, Seamless Bay Area.
“With the rise of biking and walking fatalities across the Bay Area, it is more important than ever that voters know where candidates stand in building communities that are joyful, safe, and inclusive” said Justin Hu-Nguyen, Bike East Bay’s Co-Executive Director of Mobility Justice.
“Public transit is a lifeline for so many people in the Bay Area. Allowing transit agencies to go unfunded would hurt economically disadvantaged and transit-dependent people the worst, leaving thousands of transit riders — including workers, seniors, and people with disabilities — without a reliable way of getting around. It connects folks with everything from food, to healthcare, family, friends and fun. We’re excited to release this questionnaire, which lifts the issues that matter to transit riders, with our other partners in the space. In order to make the Bay Area a more pleasant, affordable, and green place to live, our elected representatives need to center public transit and transit riders in the choices they make for us,” said Dylan Fabris, Community & Policy Manager for San Francisco Transit Riders.
Candidates who have not yet responded can email their answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and the coalition could potentially update their website and include them.
The Transbay Coalition is a grassroots public transportation advocacy group championing bold near-term solutions to the Bay Area’s regional transportation challenges. Learn more at www.transbaycoalition.org.
Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.