Friday, March 22, 2013

In a recent exchange with a new Civil Engineering graduate who lives in Newark, Ca, but whose first professional job he snagged is up I680 in Walnut Creek, Ca, the importance of California's freeway system for our economic vitality became immediately apparent.  

Our freeways, and thus our economically beneficial auto-mobility are being deliberately starved for funding in the S.F. Bay area by the Democrat monopolized  Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Bay Area Toll Authority members. They are led by the Executive Director, Steve Heminger, the modern day Herod-like Bureaucrat of the Single Occupant Vehicle driver; buttresed by Democrat-approved anti-automobile state legislation from the likes of our Senate's Socialist Pro-Tempore, Darrel Steinberg's SB375 (it demands a reduction of VMT without regard to VMT-to-GDP benefits, etc) and Fran Pavel's original AB32.  

I welcomed the new grad-new hefty salaried engineer to the real world of salaried, upwardly mobile exempt professionals who pay a lot of taxes which, in turn, get redistributed to those less desirous to make the sacrifices necessary earn a living in long days, often around 12 hours per day and who must suffer from MTC/BATA's socialist, social engineering transportation policies.  The latest of these are the expanding extortionist ripoff of Toll Lanes, such as those beginning in Democrat-monopoly led Santa Clara County's SR237 which the SCC VTA recently proudly boasted of its success in garning more money from SOV drivers who, first paid for its toll lane, believing it wouldl be for all general "mixed use" drivers, but VTA then converted it to a carpool HOV lane for 8 hours per weekday, but now, has increased the hours of SOV exclusion extended so more SOV drivers will be coerced to either pay a Heminger-fetish of variable Congestion-Priced amount (approaching a $1.00 -per mile cost, with no firm upper limit), or, sit in the remaining two lanes each way for hours longer--and denied access even on off hours except for the few ingress/egress gaps.  All this increased Toll Lane-related congestion  

The coming I680 toll lanes, too, will make this newbie S.F. Bay Area salaried professional's bad, bad, bad,  SOV (Single Occupant Vehicle) commute more difficult and/or expensive, and later even worse, during future punishing (and wholly unnecessary) toll lane hours on I-680.  MTC/BATA extortion of precious earnings from desperate-for-employment wage-earners, including those who earn good salaries and contracts that are enabled only by their highway auto-mobility, is, to me, a nearly criminal perversion of the role of public servants, whether elected or appointed. 
Congestion-Priced toll lanes create congestion artificially in those bad, bad, bad, SOV lanes of freedom that will never be expanded as long as the Democrat's can coerce (per former Federal Transportation Secretary LaHood's 2009 speech to the National Press Club) to decide to use the government-induced congestion brought on by the scarcity of highway and lane funding reductions--and tolling to increase commute to/from work costs.,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.44158598,d.b2I&fp=897ba9997041d6f1&biw=1320&bih=916 

The newbie commuting engineer has an alternate transit opportunity, BART, which reaches from Newark to Walnut Creek, but, of course, to government his extra time to use even this frequent, high-capacity, backbone bay area rail transit service may not work for him due to his variable hours' exempt-type work schedule. I've asked that if he tries BART sometimes, his comments would be of interest and learn from, especially compared to the benefits of SOV freeway travel, coffee-in-the-car, music, hands-free conference call participation, and other conveniences,  My ultimate interest to have BART Around The Bay (my other blog), to replace the deadly, outdated, congesting, disjointed Peninsula Caltrain Killtrain (3 people already dead this year on its urban tracks, as usual and consistent with the 12-16 who die each year on its tracks, like clockwork). BART is safer and would be optimized and better balanced if it went all the way around the Bay, two ways, as a "one-seat" rail transit solution to meet burgeoning job growth in the Bay Area, especially Silicon Valley and the Peninsula. See other blog discussions earlier here and in the site.

I commuted for 3 years from South San Jose to Livermore (contra-commute), then for a year to Redwood Shores, then 15 years to Palo Alto, all with long hours just to get and keep good job$ for a nice lifestyle and more.  This was ONLY enabled by our publicly-owned freeways to allow maximization of salaries matched to my education and experience, not where I lived (i.e., Ninotchka-like Soviet ABAG T.O.D. stack & pack housing). 
Thus, I am intrigued by his situation and thoughts on his new work/mobility experiences and the value of freeway-enabled auto-mobility, its induced economic freedom, economic growth (including more taxes!), economic opportunity, and time value benefit. The late California Assemblyman, Walter Ingalls (who fought Jerry Brown1/Gianturco to get an 8-lane design width for SoCal's I-15 corridor) said that many people who use freeways don't realize that they are the most heavily used public buildings in the state, only horizontal, that's all.  Unfortunately, Big Government, Social Engineering Control-your-life Democrats take them for granted so easily-- except to extort money from hapless motorist, taxpayer, victims (and voters!). 
A Freemotorist

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