Measure DD, to extend the current ¼ cent transportation tax for another 20 years, is being promoted as an expenditure plan for projects which overall will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In fact, the largest percentage of funds for proposed projects will go for road improvements to relieve congestion by adding roadway capacity, including roadway widening, road extensions. Projects which alleviate roadway congestion by adding road capacity will over time result in additional auto use based on the “pent-up, latent demand” for roadway capacity. Less congested roads will attract more auto vehicle miles traveled (VMT), leading over time to more VMT and GHG emissions. Build it and they will come. To reduce GHG emissions we must reduce vehicle miles traveled by car.
The basic allocation of funds in Measure DD is 65% for road/auto-related projects, 35% for bike/pedestrian/transit projects. It is misleading to promote Measure DD as reducing GHG emissions by saying that it provides more non-auto funds than the current Measure M, where 80% is allocated for highway 101 and road construction. At best Measure DD will result in a lower overall increase in GHG emissions. This fire season has made it clear that we need a more transformative approach to address the climate crisis.
The Measure M tax is in effect for 4 more years. A better process would be to complete the updated County Comprehensive Transportation Plan, now in progress, and then to draft a new funding measure.
— Jerry Bernhaut, Santa Rosa