Jeff Tumblin, Jeffrey Tomlin, Bob Powers discussed on Forum
Public transit recovery with Deborah to gang from Vita Michael Hirsh, general manager at the Transit. Bob Powers, general manager at Bart and Jeffrey Tomlin, director of transportation, ATM Uni. What should be a area public transit agencies prioritized as they return to pre pandemic service. What would you like to see changed? If you're an employee of these agencies, member of one of the unions? What are your thoughts and concerns? Give us a call now at 8667336786. That's 8667336786. And you can also get in touch on Twitter and Facebook were at KQED Forum. Have a couple of comments that are both kind of in the same veins when I read them both, and then going to come to the panel Dave tweets between getting the drivers back an emergency hazard pay. We need to talk about regional connectivity. We need fair integration and network management. Bruce writes for my commune from the East Bay to the peninsula, the cost of driving my electric car is comparable to that of riding Bart. Also, bar trip usually takes longer. That in the homeless and crime problems will keep me off. Bart for this foreseeable future, got a lot of questions and comments about both safety and about sort of what a future more regionally connected system should look like. I mean, even just booking the show, we realized that we would need to get you know more than half a dozen people just to talk about the major transit agencies of the Bay. Um, is there any hope in the long term that perhaps we'll have a much more integrated transit system, and I guess I'll start with you, Bob Powers. Yeah, I would say hope is here and that hope is on the way as well. The transit operators are meeting weekly. Um, coordinating cooperating. We are looking at our transit hubs and making better connectivity. And we've had great deal of success with the connection for and I'll give you one example. Alexis, Um, the connection between Bart and Caltrain down on the peninsula at Millbrae. We change the platform we came in. We make sure our schedules were better coordinated and it's been a huge success. Discussions are going on with the B R T F right now about network management, and they're very collaborative and very positive. Uh, Deborah Gang. How about you? Do you think that Vita might end up as part of a larger regional network? Well, I think Corden. I think network coordination is really important for those making regional trips and is, Bob said, like we just opened in the last year to BART stations in the South, based so for those people that are making regional trips that's very important. I think we also need to look need need a lot lose sight of the fact and again from an equity perspective that a great majority of our trends that writers in the Bay area are not making regional trips. In Santa Clara County, so keep in mind. Santa Clara County is the largest county in the Bay Area. In any other part of the country. We would be considered a region. Um, we are also as a county projected to have the highest growth of both housing and jobs in the region. So something like 85% of our residents live and work within the county. So when we talk about regional travel, we can't lose sight and this is true of other counties as well. Many people in San Francisco County, Oakland, Alameda County Cemetery, County live and work within the county, so we can't get so focused on regional trips that we lose sight of. How many people travel much more locally and how much of an impact that has on congestion air quality. So part of the reason to have more localized transit is because That's important and again in Santa Clara County, where one transit agency for the entire county it's not like we have four or five different agencies. But we do connect to regional rail, whether that's art, or Caltrain, or ace that goes all the way out to San Joaquin Valley, but to Bob's point Um, one of the things that has been a positive pandemic is we are coordinating more closely. We're looking for opportunities and we're finding really good success stories of how to do that coordination, how to look at that regional travel and improve on it, And I think we're making great strides in that and We can continue to communicate and look for ways to improve. But I can't emphasize enough and, you know I'll use the word equity over and over again that we cannot. We cannot shift funds from our transit dependent population that tends to make more local trips to regional travel. When we improve regional travel, we really need to look to our state and federal government for additional funding as we improve that And I think Jeff Tumblin mentioned this earlier in terms of what's broken in terms of budget is transits when the few modes of transportation that we expect to fund itself to such a large extent we really need to look at other ways to find new funding sources. Let's bring in Guillermo from Oakland. Welcome to the show. Hey, thank you for taking my phone call. I have a question for your panel in general. Uh, we, the taxpayers, we've been passing initiatives and we've been paying taxes. For improvement. And every time that I hear this kind of conversations over you guys always asking for money. So where is my dollars taxes? Where are the improvements you guys promote. I also know that some folks who retired during the pandemic Their pensions are very healthy and they retire from bars and public transportation. So it's my tax dollars are going to the pensions of those folks or it goes to the improvements. And if this for the improvement where are those improvements and why you justified? To come back to us and asked for more money. Yeah, Caramel. Thank you for that. I think transit advocates out there would want me to note that highway spending also obviously runs on tax funding as well and tends to be quite large. But let's let's give this one To Jeffrey Tomlin. How would you answer Garma? So again, it goes back to the ways in which taxation has broken in California. So, for example, property taxes as a result of prop 13 are capped at the value of the home when it was originally purchased. The property tax declines over time relative to are expensive and most of our other taxes unless they're indexed to inflation also declined in value over time as our expenses rise, uh, based upon the cost of living So it's very frustrating to us as managers to continue to have to go back and ask for more money because the value of our tax revenues declines as a result of ways in which California fundamental leads structurally broken around how we fund government services. The other challenge that we face is that while we're trying to make improvements, the rest of the world is acting against us. I would argue, but I think this is particularly problematic with regard to congestion. So when we allow our highways and are a Trevin lanes in our streets to get congested, that means transit is less effective. And it also means we have to cut frequency. So what We've been trying to argue this is the best way to get value out of transit is to protect it from congestion. So we can be fast, frequent and reliable and make a far better use of.