Sunshine Alliance VTA Petition 

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This past January, 350 Silicon Valley's Partnerships Team helped organize the Sunshine Climate Action Alliance, a group of now 17 SCC and SMC climate, environmental, political​​ and faith and social justice organizations. The purpose of the Alliance is to bring together the combined power of many organizations with a concern for the direction and pace of climate change.

Until the Alliance has it's own website, 350 Silicon Valley is posting the Alliance's requests for action. The Alliance's first joint project is to add a much needed climate voice to the Valley Transportation Authority's discussions on how to approach the transportation needs of the Silicon Valley.  There's a lot of the VTA plans that we support, yet they still want to expand highways and expressways and that, as studies have shown, leads to more cars, more traffic and more CO2 being emitted.

Please sign the Sunshine Alliance "Climate Message to the VTA" petition and forward it to friends, work associates, and family. We'd like to get hundreds of signers by April 20th. (The VTA Board of Directors meets on April 22nd.)

 

     

 

More Lanes = More Cars = More Pollution

We, the Climate Action Community in Silicon Valley, 
are speaking out to the VTA Board of Directors 

Dear Board Members of the Valley Transportation Authority:

The VTA is considering adding more capacity to Santa Clara County’s major highways and expressways which will increase motor vehicle use and related carbon pollution, at a time when state and regional policies are calling for transportation investments that reduce carbon emissions and increase access to safe, convenient, and reliable transportation options.

The VTA will maximize the climate benefits of its planned half-cent sales tax measure by limiting funding for road expansion.  We urge the VTA to focus on investments in projects and programs that increase walking and biking opportunities and expand public  transit options, including the BART to Silicon Valley extension, Caltrain upgrades, and more frequent, reliable, and affordable bus service.

Transportation is the single largest contributor to climate-warming emissions in the Bay Area, accounting for 40% of our region’s CO2 emissions. Silicon Valley is also home to among the longest commutes and worst traffic gridlock in the nation. The notorious traffic congestion and associated carbon pollution is a result of decades of investments and planning decisions that encourage solo driving at the expense of all other modes of transportation.

State policy is now calling for the Bay Area and other regions to reduce vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and to reduce carbon emissions. As such, future transportation-related investments must simultaneously tackle our mobility needs and the climate crisis.  

I’m supportive of VTA’s general concept of a half-cent sales tax increase over thirty years to raise $6B for critical transportation improvements. But, I’m very opposed to existing proposals to spend one-quarter of that (or $1.5 billion) on highway, freeway, and expressway capacity increases such as road widening.

Transportation planners have known for decades that adding capacity to freeways and other major arteries actually encourages sprawl and more driving and does not reduce traffic congestion, resulting in inefficient use of taxpayer funds and more carbon pollution.

 

That’s why I urge the VTA Board of Directors to limit highway, freeway, and expressway capacity expansion spending in the fall ballot measure to no more than $400 million and to focus on investments that improve safety, reduce VMT, and increase transit use and walking and biking rates.

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A petition organized by the Sunshine Climate Action Alliance, a SCC and SMC climate action network with current representation from 17 local environmental, climate change, and social justice organizations.  Our transportation-related goals for our region are to advocate for climate protection and to add the climate perspective to transportation-related issues and discussions.

 

Sign the petition: