By Jim Wunderman

I had the honor of meeting today with the Governor and regional representatives from across the state to discuss long-stalled projects that could happen, if the state allowed what are called public private partnerships. They asked the Council to think out of the box for some ideas. Here’s what I presented:

Truck climbing lanes on the 580 Altamont Corridor
The Bay Area enjoys the distinction of having the 2nd worst traffic congestion in the United States. Over the past 15 years, as warehousing and logistics companies have moved out to the Central Valley and the Port of Oakland has expanded, the 580 freeway has become a parking lot of trucks and cars, truly the worst of the worst. Getting trucks off the road could improve safety, traffic congestion, the speed of goods delivery to other parts of the state and country, and air quality. It could be paid for with tolls or fees on private goods movement companies, Prop 1B goods movement funding, state highway funds and federal highway funds.

Fast trains between the Bay Area and Sacramento
The population centers of the Bay Area and Sacramento are rapidly and inexorably merging into one another and it has become standard for commuters to travel between them. The Capitol Corridor rail line is nearly operating at capacity and must compete with an equally increasing amount of freight. A PBI could create a standalone rapid rail line to carry passengers back and forth between the most densely populated areas of the new Northern California megaregion. It could be paid for with passenger fares, fees to rail freight companies to free up the other lines, Prop 1B public transit money, state highway funds and federal highway funds.

A Southern Crossing between the East Bay and the Peninsula
One of the biggest reasons the Bay Area is so afflicted by traffic congestion is the sheer volume of cars that attempt to squeeze onto the Bay Bridge each day, making it either the number 1 or 2 most traveled bridge in the United States, depending on the day. Senator Feinstein and the Bay Area Council have both long pushed for a new bridge to cross the Bay near the Oakland and San Francisco Airports. It would not only remove a huge bulk of traffic in the region, but could connect the regions two major international airports, allowing them to coordinate passenger and freight movement in a way never before possible. The bridge could also accommodate a BART line that would carry millions of passengers each year. Due to the coordination of the airports, the Southern Crossing might also eliminate the need to expand SFO or OAK airports and the resulting Bay fill. The project could be paid for with: tolls; BART fares; contributions from the airports or airlines; Prop 1B goods movement, public transit and highway funds; state highway funds; and, federal highway funds.