11/17/2009: Landmark Smart Growth Program to be Defunded in East Contra Costa County


CONTACT Olivia deBree, Contra Costa Organizer

Contra Costa County, CA - This Wednesday, November 18th, the Contra Costa Transit Authority (CCTA) will consider a Draft Strategic Plan Update to the Measure J Transportation Sales Tax. The Draft calls for indefinitely defunding a landmark smart growth program called Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) in East County. This means local government will not receive the $29 million in funding for bicycle, local transit, and pedestrian facilities that support transit-oriented development.

TransForm is pleased that TRANSPLAN, the East County advisory committee to CCTA, worked with CCTA to ensure that the Draft communicates CCTA's ongoing commitment to making TLC funding a reality. CCTA's job is to ensure that the voters' vision comes to fruition. TransForm and its allies who have long advocated for funding for TLC hope that cost savings, increased sales tax revenue, or other revenue sources emerge so CCTA can follow through on its responsibility to the voters. "I appreciate that the economic recession has created a big dilemma for CCTA and that they are defunding TLC only as a last resort. I hope that more money can be found so that TLC receives full funding," said Tim Donahue, Chair of the Sierra Club's Delta regional group which represents Eastern Contra Costa County.

TransForm expects to work together with CCTA to ensure TLC receives funding as soon as possible so that senior citizens, people with disabilities, youth, and others without cars or with limited incomes who already face incredible transportation obstacles in East County can benefit from TLC's funding.

Many East County residents feel they have long received the short end of the stick when it comes to public transit. Like many East County residents, TransForm is glad to see that eBART is a priority for East County. There is now reason to worry that East County will get the short end of the stick when it comes to smart growth measures. "Fortunately, Central, West, and Southwest Contra Costa will still have TLC and benefit from amenities like bus shelters, bike lanes, walkways, and streetscape improvements that TLC will fund. East County deserves the same quality of life as every other part of Contra Costa County," said Olivia deBree, Contra Costa Organizer with TransForm.

The current economic recession has made it difficult for TLC to become a reality in East County when residents most need it. Transit-oriented solutions like TLC can save East County residents money by making it easier to walk, bike, and take transit. However, TransForm is optimistic that CCTA and TRANSPLAN will pursue and find funds to re-fund TLC and fulfill Contra Costa voters' vision for smart growth throughout the county.

For more information on CCTA's Nov. 18th meeting at 6:00pm at 3478 Buskirk Avenue, Suite 100 in Pleasant Hill: http://www.ccta.net/EN/main/meetings/authorityboard.html

TransForm (formerly known as the Transportation and Land Use Coalition, or TALC) works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond. TransForm builds diverse coalitions, influences policy, and develops innovate programs to improve the lives of all people and protect the environment.