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September 05, 2006

Comments

OPA Stables

Great piece Curt. I agree with you.

Critic

This is a good column, that hits some of the major points, and hints at some of the issues that came up in the process. For those who oppose this consensus version of Measure M, I'll challenge them to come up with a major freeway project that they would add that would not doom a renewal effort. Bill Campbell would like to build a soaring elevated freeway over our only major flood control channel for a billion dollars. That project would bring out a group from downstream cities who would bring the money and targeted ad campaign out to take away a few points that would mean the margin of failure for Measure M renewal.

The one point that Mayor Pringle didn't address is the question of why to renew Measure M in 2006 if it doesn't expire until 2011. That question starts looking at funding and planning cycles for major projects, and the ability to guarantee a future funding stream to pay for them. Without Measure M renewal, that funding stream, and the ability to use it for matching funds, isn't there. Will a local city or Caltrans commit to the costs for engineering and environmental work and preliminary costs for negotiating right-of-way acquisition without a clear commitment of funds? The current revenue stream from Measure M is committed, and any new projects and new commitments will come from new funds.

I get particularly irritated with the wishful thinkers who think that money is coming from some other pot, and we don't have to put any local money in. With borrow and spend Republicans determining our policy at the state and national level, where is this money going to come from? More borrowing from China?

larry gilbert

Good afternoon Critic.
OCTA has answered your question in their book on Frequently Asked Questions where it reads: "the proposed Measure M may have to be refined and presented to the voters more than once." They got that statement right.

Don't overlook private or public/private partnerships to address our future transportation needs.
Larry Gilbert, Co-author REBUTTAL

larry gilbert

And to the Honorable Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle.
Whereas OCTA now owns the 91 toll roads, whose outstanding debt service is around $195 million, why isn't that future "billions" of toll receipts projected over the next 30 years being applied to transportation improvements on SR-91?
Best regards,
Larry Gilbert

Debbie O'Neill

Is this the same Curt Pringle and OCTA that fined a family who's child had cancer? The mom lost her wallet and forget to tell OCTA of her new debit card number and the family was fined 40,000,( JUST WHAT YOU'RE thinking about when you child is ill) and out of the goodness of your hearts you ( the OCTA ) reduced the fine to 10,000. NOT ONLY DID THIS FAMILY LOSE THERE CHILD to cancer THEY HAD TO TAKE A PERSONAL LOAN OUT FOR 10,000. Another Prime example of Mr. Pringle and the OCTA kind hearts.

Jubal

Ms. O'Niell:

What in heaven's name are you talking about? Fined $40K for a wrong debit card number?

calwatch

Mayor Pringle, why do you continue to support Metrolink? Why don't you put money to expand bus service to later hours, add more service to suburban areas like Anaheim Hills and Ladera Ranch, add freeway express service, and continue adding shelters for riders? Instead, we have ideas like running Metrolink to midnight, seven days a week, when there's no way for anyone to get TO the station unless they have a car at each end. Gee, thanks.

Relevant

Debbie O'Niell,

Is this the same Debbie O'Niell that currently resides in the state of Colorado? Wow, that is some dedication to your former local to scan blogs and just happen to spout irrelevant and unsubsatiated gossip in resposnse to a serious policy issue commentary that will effect the lives of people who still live in Orange County.

I'm sorry, but I feel it is necesarry to call out those who chose to degrade this forum of meaningful ideas into a vehihlce for drive-by gossip.

debbie oneill

First of all I do not live in Colorado.

Gossip, it is not gossip, OCTA fined a family 40,000 for using the 91 toll road while there daughter needed to get to CHOC's hospital. THE CHILD DIED OF CANCER, OCTA REDUCED THE FINE TO 10,000. It was a story on CBS, NBC, ABC . Bill Campbell is aware of this. So Gossip it is not.

Before you acuse someone of not telling the truth check out the facts.

No new taxes

I remember the Centerline boondoggle that thank God collapsed under the weight of much-deserved criticism. It would have served a tiny fraction of the population while costing a billion. That alone is enough of a turn off for me to vote no on the Measure M tax extension. Add to that the fact that they want to extend what was supposed to be a TEMPORARY tax for another 30 years; again enough for me to vote no. To add insult to injury, they use millions of our tax dollars to sell us on taxing ourselves for another 30 years? - that's a definite no vote for me.

I don't believe for a moment that the state (or even local government) will allow the roads to deteriorate to the point where they are unusable. Too much of our economy depends on healthy roads. Maybe the politicians should cut the fat by ceasing to fund the hundreds of worthless programs we have in this state, and direct it towards roads infrastructure instead. Only when that has been done will I vote to tax myself for another 30 years. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

medco

Debbie,

I don't know the facts about the incidents you mention in bashing Curt Pringle. I only have one question.

How does the incident you detail and your feelings about Curt's mayorship in Anaheim affect why I or the voters should or shouldn't vote to renew Measure M?

checkthefacts

With regard to Metrolink and buses, have you actually read the Measure M Renewal Plan? Project R includes bus shuttle service to serve Metrolink stations. Project S also provides significant funding for cities to connect local activity centers and residential areas with Metrolink, specifically using conventional bus and bus rapid transit. Moreover, the OCTA Long Range Transportation Plan (posted on their website) shows that bus transit services will be increased by nearly 90 percent from now through 2030, using dedicated transit-only state and federal funds, not Measure M. The facts don't support the contention that Metrolink is being improved at the expense of bus service

Debbie O'neill

Because it is a waste of tax dollar.
30 million spent on pre-lim study
When the communities did not support this.

Lets say take 91 freeway from Anaheim to Carona widen? double deck? what will that do the homes along the freeway, the values will go down. Because either the freeway will be at there back door, or on top of them.

Transporation needs to be looked at, we need to save gas, help the environment, make travel better, but at what cost? Have the toll roads paid for the cost? NO. 30 million to do a study? It's easy to spend money when it's not yours. Why not make a profit on what you have? Open up those toll roads coming in OC making them one way, in the evening open them up going the other way. Simple. I'm sure that I wouldn't charge 30 million for something so simple to solve. Why spend more tax dollars?


Charles Sanders

Great Idea why would the county not think of this? Mr.Pringe you need to hire this lady at the OCTA.

Doh

How Simple! Who would have thought that all those highly educated and trained traffic engineers and policy maker sat OCTA could be replaced by one woman, the great Debbie. Who would have thought, all we need to do is open up the 91 toll way lanes and all our transportation woes would be solved! Perhaps a sprinkle a fairy dust will clear up all the smog and drop gas prices too, what a wonderfully simple world. Thanks for opening my eyes!

larry gilbert

Check the facts.
Thank you! Thank you for your posting.

"The OCTA Long Range Transportation Plan shows that bus transit services will be increased by 90 percent from now through 2030, using dedicated transit-only state and federal funds."

As you do not mention any obligation for matching funds I say let's wait and see how this "no cost" bus transit expansion relieves some of the
congestion rather than dedicating twenty five percent of $11.86 billion for mass transit. Let's also acknowledge that roughly 40 percent of OCTA's budget comes from Measure M funds. As such they can still function without any tax extension.
Larry Gilbert

Jubal

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe only 5% of Renewed Measure M goes to bus transit, not 25%.

Curt Pringle

Larry, my friend-

I have read the number of posts that you have made with interest.

Your "lets wait and see" proposal is troubling. Looking at future impacts can be modeled. And adding bus service, adding freeway lanes, building new capacity, can and HAS been modeled. Please take a look at the entire Long Range Transportation Plan of OCTA and see how traffic will increase and capacity will be needed.

If you look at the 91 freeway today, with nearly 250,000 vehicle trips per day in some segments, without any improvements or new roads, the capacity on that freeway will increase to over 450,000 vehicle trips per day in some segments by 2030. If we wait to implement all other plans and then just sit back and watch, we will see cars stacked up even more than they are now. If we prepare, plan and find funding early for new capacity, we can be building much sooner to address this impact.

I understand that you are and will remain opposed to the M-renewal. But I think that it is important that even you, a committed opponent, really sees the magnitude of the need and the fact that we can not have the additional 75,000 people (give or take) who will soon be coming to OC each day on the 91 freeway just ride a bus.

My best,
Curt

Jack Mallinckrodt

Curt Pringle (10/05/06) seems to think that most of the opposition to Measure M arises from inherent Orange County “contrarian” no-tax motives and that opponents are being somehow disingenuous in not coming out and ‘fessing up to that. That clearly is not Greenhut’s position, not the Republican Party endorsement committee’s , nor mine nor that of most of the loyal opposition I talk to. To mischaracterize the opposition in this way may be an easy and comfortable excuse, but it’s wrong. Most all of us agree with the need ultimately, to pass a better Measure M extension.

Curt describes the 2/3 vote requirement as an important consideration in formulating the measure. I know that Art Leahy is a strong advocate of the “something for every voter” strategy. Unfortunately, in this case that approach has translated into: “here a dib, there a dab, everywhere a dib-dab”, as opposed to an all out, focus on freeway congestion which is what I think ― and what all relevant polls seem to indicate― Orange County wants. My own reasonably well informed gut feeling is that such a focused attack could provide more than twice the regional congestion relief as compared to the present measure.
It is vital that OCTA directors and CEO understand the opposition correctly if, as I hope, this measure fails this time and OCTA gets another chance to get it right

calwatch

With regard to Metrolink and buses, have you actually read the Measure M Renewal Plan?

Of course I have, and I still object to it.

Project R includes bus shuttle service to serve Metrolink stations.

So instead of transferring once, which works for virtually any trip in North and Central County, I get to ride a bus to a Metrolink station, pay $5.75 to ride the train from Fullerton to Santa Ana, and transfer yet again to another bus, when I could have just paid $3 and ridden two buses in the first place? Oh right, that $3 covers the whole day, whereas the $5.75 only covers the train trip one way.

Most of Project R pays for track improvements for the aforementioned Metrolink to Midnight, every 20-30 minutes. WHY does Metrolink need to run every half hour to midnight??? Imagine all the traffic congestion this will cause as cars stop for a train on average 6-10 times an hour (remember freight trains and Amtrak use the tracks too).

Project S also provides significant funding for cities to connect local activity centers and residential areas with Metrolink, specifically using conventional bus and bus rapid transit.

No, this is the so-called Centerline sneak attack. Even if it wasn't use for light rail, you have dumb ideas like the Irvine Great Park circulator. I doubt much of the money will be spent to speed up line haul bus service along our most congested streets like Bolsa, Bristol, Harbor, and Beach.

(It should be noted that OCTA's busiest bus routes go NOWHERE near Metrolink. The Harbor, Westminster, and Bolsa buses cross Metrolink, but do not parallel it in any way.)

Moreover, the OCTA Long Range Transportation Plan (posted on their website) shows that bus transit services will be increased by nearly 90 percent from now through 2030, using dedicated transit-only state and federal funds, not Measure M.

Why can't Measure M funding go for buses? What is so allergic about that? Orange County's population will increase 30% to 2030, and traffic congestion will either go up by 50% or double, depending on whether certain projects are built (Source: 2004 SCAG RTP). So an alleged 90% increase in service only keeps up with population growth and traffic delay. What you don't mention is that OCTA's bus service is extremely effective, according to the LRTP. Meanwhile, Metrolink carries 10,000 boardings, or 5,000 round trips, a day, hardly effective. (I looked at the LRTP and can't find 90% increased bus transit at all.)

calwatch

I see projects V and W as bus based. $251 million, or 2%. Throw in the senior bus discounts and dial-a-ride for those who can't drive (project U) and that's another 3%. So yes, 5% for buses and shuttles, 20% for Metrolink and rail-based solutions that don't work in a County where many major centers aren't on the train line, and redeveloping areas near train lines for the density you would need is just not going to be possible (drop South Coast Metro in Old Towne Orange? Irvine Business Park in Downtown Fullerton? the Foothill Ranch tech center in San Juan Capistrano? Not going to happen.)

larry iglbert

Honorable Mayor Pringle.

You are correct in one respect. I do not support the proposed Plan to extend Measure M. The good news is that we can engage in a civil debate and still go out for a cup of coffee afterward. You and I are in agreement on another key issue which proves that we can support or oppose each other's actions on policy issues.

Getting back to transportation. Sadly we have become a County of "enablers." While tens of thousands of people are moving to Orange County and contribute to our local and state economy by the property and sales taxes they pay, our elected officials, at all levels of government, have given up in any attempt to get serious transportation dollars from Sacramento to meet our growing infrastructure needs. If the elected representatives of the 18 or so "self help" Counties in CA could put their partisan hats aside and form a transportation caucus we collectively might have more leverage.

Rather than make this response a 1000 word brief, let me again pose the question regarding the SR-91 and the 91 Toll Roads.
With billions of dollars in revenue coming in over the next 30 years from that OCTA owned toll road what is to become of that revenue stream?

Respectfully,
Larry Gilbert

Curt Pringle

Larry-

To answer your specific question: tolls from the 91 express lanes go towards operation, maintenance and debt service on the toll lanes. Beyond that any additional revenues from tolls received from these lanes must go toward road improvements in the 91 coordior.

This was spelled out in the legislation that allowed OCTA to purchase the lanes: AB 1010 (2002).

You can see the language of the legisalation from Section 130240 (d-e)restated below:

Sec. 130240 (d) The Orange County Transportation Authority shall have the
authority to impose tolls for use of the State Highway Route 91
facilities as authorized by the franchise agreement. After the bonds
issued pursuant to subdivision (f) are paid in their entirety or on
December 31, 2030, whichever occurs earlier, the Orange County
Transportation Authority shall have no further authority to impose or
to collect a toll for the use of the segment of State Highway Route
91 between Interstate Highway Route 15 and State Highway Route 55.
(e) Toll revenues from the use of State Highway Route 91
facilities between Interstate Highway Route 15 and State Highway
Route 55 shall only be used by the Orange County Transportation
Authority for capital and operating expenses, including payment of
purchase costs, debt service, and satisfaction of other covenants and
obligations relating to indebtedness, and for transportation related
to State Highway Route 91 between Interstate Highway Route 15 and
State Highway Route 55, excluding other toll roads.

Hope this addresses your concern,
Curt

Bladerunner

When gas gets to $5 or $6 a gallon, people are going to wonder why in the heck we didn't provide more then just concrete, why we didn't provide for more metro service. If Measure M doesn't pass, and if the son of Measure M doesn't pass after that, we should give credit to the Maginot Line transportation critics who have posted so frequently on this site.

As for the public-private partnerships LG mentions, who would be against that? It could help shave off a percent or two of the traffic in a specific area. But the idea that we are going to get significant money out of Sacramento has got to be Chuck Devore's hemp talking. Reality check: most OC legislators DON'T vote for the budget. If you don't vote for the budget, you've marginzalized yourself and your district. And you sure as heck can't expect anyone to listen to your whining about not getting a fair share of the budget you just voted against. The OC Dems and a few OC Republicans vote for it and get some money back. But get serious...

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