2017 has already gotten off to an amazing start. Just six months into the year, the Leadership Group continues to add regional and statewide value to ease traffic in the Bay Area and throughout California.
>> Statewide Solutions through Senate Bill 1 – Thanks to the public sector leadership of State Senator Jim Beall, State Assemblyman Jim Frazier and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, with two-plus years of concerted advocacy by the Leadership Group, SB 1 passes through the Legislature with the required two-thirds vote in each House on April 7, with the Governor signing SB 1 three weeks later. The Leadership Group met for one-on-one meetings with more than 60 State Legislators, including one-on-one sessions with 14 “swing” Legislators in the final 48 hours prior to the vote. Twelve of the 14 “swing” legislators ended up voting “yes” for SB 1.
>> Caltrain – It’s Electrifying!”
21 years is a long time. That’s how long the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has “Placed its wallets where its words are,” in taxing ourselves to both electrify and modernize Caltrain:
* Our 1996 “Measures A & B” included $44 million for Caltrain
* Our 2000 “Measure A” included $153 million for Caltrain
* Our 2016 “Measure B” included $1 billion & $14 million for Caltrain
As a CA Transportation Commissioner, Leadership Group CEO Guardino led the effort on the Commission to secure $106 million in funds towards the electrification of Caltrain in the summer of 2012.
In partnership with Senator Feinstein, and local Congressmembers Eshoo, Speier and Lofgren, with great leadership by Governor Jerry Brown and several private sector partners, the final matching funds were secured in May through the Federal Transit Administration for $647 million to electrify the line. Kudos to sister business groups like SPUR, SAMCEDA and the Bay Area Council for this commitment to Caltrain. In terms of the Leadership Group role, in addition to the efforts above, more than 130 CEOs/Senior Officers publicly signed a letter – under the umbrella of the Leadership Group – of their individual commitment to electrify the line. Why is Caltrain electrification important? It increases ridership capacity by 80 percent, from 62,000 weekday passenger trips to more than 110,000, while improving air quality by 97 percent, and increasing speed by another 15 percent.
Epilogue: Thanks to the bi-partisan, bicameral leadership of State Senator Jerry Hill and our entire “Caltrain Caucus” in the State Legislature, we are sponsoring state legislation – SB 797 (Hill) – to enable a three-county consolidated election for up to a one-eighth of one percent sales tax which would allow the funding to more than double Caltrain ridership capacity beyond electrification. Such funding could increase service capacity from 110,000 weekday passenger trips to more than 250,000, which would be transformative for the crippling congestion in the Highway 101 Corridor.