Update: 05/10/04 

Save Our Transit - Victory in 2003!


In April 2003, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) staff recommended budget proposes a 21% reduction in bus and light rail services. This would have come on top of three straight years of service cuts. A broad coalition of groups, coordinated by TALC, developed the Save Our Transit budget alternative (see alternative below). This alternative called on VTA to halt these cuts by identifying stopgap sources of funding, thus avoiding the disastrous social impacts of cutting service, when there is a chance it would be reinstated in 2005 (additional resources maybe be obtained in a countywide election in November 2004). The Save Our Transit alternative was championed by 20 groups ranging from the Sierra Club to the Community Homeless Alliance Ministry.

After four months of grassroots efforts, two rallies, one-on-one visits with Board members, and a comprehensive media campaign to get articles, editorials, and op-eds supporting our recommendations (read Stuart Cohen’s op-ed), we achieved an incredible victory. On June 5, 2003, the same VTA Board that had ignored our pleas over the last two years finally acted on the overwhelming outcry from the community - they adopted the core of the Save Our Transit alternative and deferred the cuts.

This grassroots pressure was backed up by Transportation Injustice, a hard-hitting TALC report released in March 2003.   The report outlined how the cuts could be avoided, especially if VTA is willing to be flexible on when the wildly over-budget BART extension to San Jose is built.  TRANSDEF also played an important role by providing legal analysis indicating that, contrary to what VTA’s legal opinion asserted, VTA could use 2000 Measure A funds to fund bus service.

Working Partnerships, USA, and Bob Brownstein in particular deserve tremendous praise for elevating this issue and providing insightful, and convincing analysis.  There was also great support from the Mercury News, including their June 3 editorial.

 

 © 2002  Transportation and Land Use Coalition  info@transcoalition.org  510.740.3150