As bad as Prop A would be for motorists, at least it’s being done at the local level by the local county commissioners and not through another diversion in federal or state gasoline taxes to non-road purposes. Prop A would issue General Obligation Bonds backed by a property tax increase. Two-thirds of voters have to vote in favor of Prop A in order for it to pass, which is a high bar.
By Terri Hall l October 29, 2014
We all know San Francisco, California is a liberal, progressive city. So its proposed $500 million ‘Transportation and road improvement’ bond measure on the ballot November 4 isn’t a surprise to most politicos. However, the lack of a single road capacity improvement leaves 81% of San Francisco commuters that rely on cars to get around out in the cold. A total of 10% of commuters walk and only 3% ride a bike to work, and though those numbers exceed the national average, it still shows that even liberals prefer the convenience of the personal automobile.
While the ordinance recognizes the city’s street and transportation infrastructure is inadequate to meet current demands, and it says the city wants to enhance the transportation system in order to create a more reliable, efficient system that meets future demand, the actual initiative creates a barrier to urban auto travel, while enhancing pedestrian and bicycle travel, yet eliminating entire lanes of vehicle traffic. It claims the funding will ‘ease traffic congestion,’ and ‘reduce vehicle travel times,’ but when you look at the projects, it’s hard to see how.
The obvious goal of the ballot initiative, known as Prop A, is to discourage autos, if not outright punish motorists for using them. A mere $142 million is for road projects. But when $68 million of that is for pedestrian walkways and $52 million for ‘well-defined’ bikeways (code for dedicated bike lanes), as well as the addition of special bike parking and new traffic signals, it’s inconceivable how any of these fall under a genuine road ‘improvement.’ It improves the road for whom? Pedestrians and bicyclists, but not the 81% of commuters who travel by car!
The majority of the bonds will be spent on public transit, $358 million, including $39 million for train upgrades, expanding bus stops, special boarding islands or ‘bulbs’ (which undoubtedly take up road space needed for efficient auto travel), and implementing transit-only lanes. Amazingly, this bond money would be used to extend the hours that motorists are prohibited from turning left. Seriously? These San Francisco county commissioners want to expend borrowed money, presumably to change the current signage, to make it harder to drive a car during peak hours, while promising this money will actually reduce auto travel times?
The other road portion of the bond is for traffic calming initiatives like speed bumps, road diets, traffic circles, and intersection islands, more akin to the UN’s Agenda 21 program of social engineering, than transportation improvements. The bond package also includes ‘refuge islands,’ speed tables, and corner curb ‘bulb-outs’ for pedestrians, as well as the ‘WalkFirst’ program that decreases speed limits from 25 MPH to 15 MPH and establishes a ticketing blitz for motorists at crosswalks. New York City’s socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio has instituted “Vision Zero” supported by President Obama’s Department of Transportation and $25 million in taxpayer funding.
As bad as Prop A would be for motorists, at least it’s being done at the local level by the local county commissioners and not through federal dollars or another diversion in federal or state gasoline taxes to non-road purposes. Prop A would issue General Obligation Bonds backed by a property tax increase. Two-thirds of voters have to vote in favor of Prop A in order for it to pass, which is a high bar. Considering motorists comprise 81% of commuters, hopefully, they’ll show-up to vote it down and send a strong signal to county officials that elevating modes of travel only 13% of commuters use – at the expense of auto travelers – steps over a line even liberals don’t want to cross. But knowing guilt motivates liberals, officials are adept at pressing the right buttons to guilt voters into giving up their rights to supposedly secure the rights of others less fortunate than them (those that walk or bike to work).
Voters have a crowded ballot with 12 total ballot measures. They’ll be asked to vote on a minimum wage increase, a tax on sugary beverages, affordable housing initiatives, as well as renovating walking and hiking trails and athletic fields. So in San Francisco, social engineering isn’t limited to transportation – it’s run amok.
Terri Hall is the founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), which defends against eminent domain abuse and promotes non-toll transportation solutions. She’s a home school mother of nine turned citizen activist. Ms. Hall is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.