Support for Rail and Trail Transportation Throughout the County
Explanation: As a means to provide environmentally sustainable public transportation, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC) has acquired the rail line that runs within a mile of most of the City’s residents. Our Council will support current efforts to put in a trail next to the tracks while developing a publicly subsidized tram or trolley to tie into the emerging state rail systems and allow for an alternative public transportation system that is highly efficient and not subject to congestion. Implementation: County-wide transportation decisions are made by SCCRTC which the City Council has a seat on. Funding for rail transit would have to come from a mixture of federal grants and a local increase in a county-wide tax. The transportation funding sales tax measure currently on the ballot provides some money for research of rail transit but not for implementation.
Fully fund the Metro, and expand bus routes
Explanation: Due to a decrease in federal, state and local funding, the Metro is currently reducing service despite increasing private auto trips representing our community’s largest contribution to global warming. Our Council would work to reinstate and expand funding. Implementation: In addition to the aforementioned representative on the SCCRTC, the City also has a representative on the Metro Board. Again, a county-wide tax will be needed to accomplish this goal. While the current transportation tax initiative does allocate a substantial amount of money to the Metro, it will not preserve service at the current levels.
Will not support spending City funds on highway widening
Explanation: The current City Council has authorized spending hundreds of thousands of dollars towards designing a project to widen Highway One across the San Lorenzo River that would increase cross town traffic on the freeway for a projected cost of 15 million dollars. Both the California Transportation Agency (CalTrans) and the SCCRTC have indicated that this expense is not a priority and will be unlikely to qualify for state or federal funds as the bridge is in reasonably good shape and the expense of widening is not fiscally responsible. Allocation of City funds for this project have been resisted both by environmentalists and City workers represented by the SEIU, who would rather see the CIty spend scarce general fund resources on its workforce.