By Steve Levy
E-mail Steve Levy
About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ... (More)
About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved downtown in 2006 and enjoy being able to walk to activities. I do not drive and being downtown where I work and close to the CalTrain station and downtown amenities makes my life more independent. I have worked all my life as an economist focusing on the California economy. My work centers around two main activities. The first is helping regional planning agencies such as ABAG understand their long-term growth outlook. I do this for several regional planning agencies in northern, southern and central coast California. My other main activity is studying workforce trends and policy implications both as a professional and as a volunteer member of the NOVA (Silicon Valley) and state workforce boards. The title of the blog is Invest and Innovate and that is what I believe is the imperative for our local area, region, state and nation. That includes investing in people, in infrastructure and in making our communities great places to live and work. I served on the recent Palo Alto Infrastructure Commission. I also believe that our local and state economy benefits from being a welcoming community, which mostly we are a leader in, for people of all religions, sexual preferences and places of birth. (Hide)
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Continued and expanded Caltrain service will provide benefits to residents, the environment and the economy. Conversely, the diminished or eliminated service that will occur without additional and dedicated revenue will have the opposite effect.
I do not drive myself but support the tax for those who must drive for commuting. Large increases in jobs and housing are planned in many Caltrain cities (Redwood City, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose) and the tax will help save time and money for those who can take the train and save time and really crowded freeways for those who must drive.
Even if readers do not personally benefit from continued and expanded service (I can walk to work or work from home for example), we can understand the benefits to others and the environment.
The capacity increases funded by the tax revenue will take drivers off the road, reduce environmental damage and help remaining drivers by reducing congestion.
The new regional housing allocations ask peninsula cities to plan for and support increases in the number of low and moderate income housing units that by virtue of being here are closer to jobs than if they lived in Tracy or Los Banos. The cost of Caltrain for these riders is increasingly being covered by programs from employers and cities like Palo Alto.
So Measure RR by continuing and expanding Caltrain with firm funding adds equity benefits to the reduction of congestion and pollution.
Yes, these are difficult economic times for many but the threat of diminished or eliminated Caltrain service is real.
I realize there are people who wish there were fewer jobs and residents but that is not going to happen along the Caltrain corridor no matter what Palo Alto chooses.
This is a good investment for people, the environment and the economy.