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Urgent Memo: Widening Highway One Still Won’t Work
The Campaign for Sensible Transportation has sent out a memo to voters, urging them to oppose the widening of Highway One in Santa Cruz County.
DATE: November 2015
TO: The Voters of Santa Cruz County
FROM: The Campaign for Sensible Transportation
SUBJECT: Widening Highway One Still Won’t Work
In 2004, we led the County-wide opposition that decisively defeated a sales tax increase to widen Highway One. Since then we have actively supported numerous transportation improvements around the County, including the long push to get local public ownership of the 32-mile rail corridor stretching across the County. And we have continued to resist wasteful investment in the outdated thinking behind widening highways.
Now it’s back. A new 30 year transportation sales tax measure proposed for 2016 could fund useful and environmentally sound improvements. Unfortunately, the current proposal would waste more than $100 million dollars on widening Highway One.
But widening Highway One STILL won’t work. Repeated scientific studies have shown that expanding busy freeways just encourages more traffic, so they soon become congested again.
Here’s the tiny benefit the Caltrans Environmental Impact Report estimates that the current plan to widen Highway 1 for Auxiliary Lanes will get us:
“[This plan] would result in a very slight improvement in traffic congestion” when compared to no highway expansion.
And besides costing millions of our tax dollars, the Caltrans Environmental Impact Report estimates that the plan would result in an annual increase in greenhouse gases of 25% compared to no highway expansion.
What does work to decrease congestion and prevent global warming over the long term?
A state of the art, county-wide light rail with trail system, combined with a stronger transit system, bikeways and safe routes to schools, and badly needed repairs to our existing roads. These improvements should have top priority for our tax money.
Please attend the Regional Transportation Commission’s meeting at 9:00 AM, Thursday, November 19, at the Vets Hall on Front Street in Santa Cruz next to the downtown Post Office. If you can’t attend, you can email the Commission at <info [at] sccrtc.org>.
Tell them to forget about wasting money widening the highway and to get on track with a system that works.
The Campaign for Sensible Transportation
PO Box 7927, Santa Cruz CA 95061