The following is an Op-Ed by Richmond Mayor Tom Butt in support of Measure J on the March 3 elections ballot. To view an Op-Ed that opposes Measure R, click here. Also, click the Contra Costa County Elections site here for more information about the measure.
By Richmond Mayor Tom Butt
I serve as the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee’s (and indirectly as Richmond’s) commissioner on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA). The Contra Costa Transportation Authority works to plan, fund, and implement innovative transit programs that strengthen our diverse communities and improve the lives of residents.
As we all know, mobility in the Bay Area is the worst it has ever been. Thank goodness for people of vision who decades ago planned and built the BART system, the WETA Ferry system and brought passenger trains back. Without these alternatives to the automobile, I’m not sure how I could function.
But we need to do more. We at CCTA have worked the past year crafting a transportation plan, Measure J on the March ballot, that will provide even better mobility, increasing public transit options and squeezing more capacity from our freeways without building more. It will also provide funding for maintaining local streets, a challenge for every city in the county.
The Richmond City Council voted unanimously to place Measure J on the ballot.
I hope you will support it. This is what Measure J will do:
Addressing Local Transportation Needs
- The local transportation system here in Contra Costa County needs improvement
- Residents deserve a transportation network that makes travel faster and more predictable
- A coalition of community, business, labor and environmental leaders in Contra Costa County have joined together to support a half-cent sales tax measure
- The Contra Costa County Transportation Improvement Measure on the March 3, 2020 ballot will provide $97 million in transportation funding annually for 35 years and needs your support
Reducing Traffic Congestion
- The measure will reduce congestion on major roads and highways, focusing on areas with the worst bottlenecks
- Reducing traffic congestion will lower emissions, improve air quality and benefit the environment
- Enhancing Local Transit Options
- Improving the local transportation system will give commuters high-quality public transit options and make local travel faster
- The measure will improve BART safety, cleanliness and access, enhance all public transit services in the county and make them more frequent and reliable
- The measure will also make it easier for seniors, veterans, students and people with disabilities to get around
The Contra Costa County Transportation Improvement Measure Will:
- Reduce congestion on Highways 680, 580, 80, 24 and 4
- Require transportation funding to directly benefit Contra Costa residents and commuters
- Make BART stations and trains in Contra Costa County cleaner and safer
- Improve the frequency, reliability, accessibility, cleanliness and safety of buses, ferries and BART
- Make commutes faster and synchronize traffic lights along major roads
- Protect open space and improve air quality in Contra Costa County
Making an Impact in Contra Costa County
- The measure will make our elected officials accountable for how they spend our tax money by requiring proof that all projects will make a real impact on congestion
- No funds can be spent on projects that don’t make our commutes faster and more predictable
- All funding will stay in Contra Costa County and cannot be taken by the State
- This measure allows Contra Costa County to qualify for state and federal matching funds, providing more money for badly needed local transportation improvements
- This measure will create local jobs in Contra Costa County