HOW PROPOSITION 51 WILL ACTUALLY RELIEVE TRAFFIC CONGESTION
Proposition 51 uses a variety of effective techniques to relieve traffic congestion, and to prevent it from getting worse. The amounts given below will be expended in the first ten years after passage of the Act. (Section numbers refer to the text of the measure)
Congestion Bottlenecks. First, the Act devotes more than $1.3 billion to solving congestion bottleneck projects identified by state and regional agencies as the worst in the state. This part of the Act alone, dedicated to fighting congestion in every urbanized region of the state, will eliminate many of the most serious congestion bottlenecks in California. (7105(b)(1))
New Transit lines and equipment. Nearly $1.5 billion will go towards building new rapid transit systems which are specifically designed to relieve traffic along the worst and most congested roads and freeways in California. (7105(b)(3))
New transit service. Nearly $1.4 billion will be used to operate new transit lines in the most congested areas, allowing substantial numbers of people to get out of their cars. Highest priority for new service will be where auto congestion is the worst. (7105(b)(2))
Senior Mobility. Nearly $200 million will go to providing transit and dial-a-ride services to seniors who cannot drive, reducing the need for them to have others drive them places they need to go. (7105(b)(4).)
Rail grade separations. Nothing infuriates motorists more than having to wait for a long train to pass. The Act will invest more than $350 million to separate roads and trains, allowing cars to pass over or under rail lines and dramatically relieving congestion. (7105(b)(5))
Commuter and Intercity Rail. Commuter rail programs like BART, Coaster, Metrolink, Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor, and CalTrain take thousands of cars off the road each day. So do intercity trains like the San Joaquins and service between Los Angeles and San Diego. $350 million will be provided to improve running times and increase service, persuading even more people to take the train instead of driving. Highest priority will be given to systems paralleling the most congested routes such as State Route 91 in Riverside County. (7105(b)(11))
Bicycle and Pedestrian programs. If someone walks or takes their bike, it is one less car on the road. The Act provides nearly $350 million for cost effective programs to allow people to get out of their cars.(7105(b)(9), (10), and (14))
Making transit easier to use. A lack of parking at transit stations discourages people from riding. Putting child care at the stations would encourage parents to use transit instead of driving. Programs like these will be provided with $260 million. (7105(b)(13))
New School buses and safe routes to school. Tens of thousands of kids ride school buses that don’t meet 1977 federal safety standards, or 1986 pollution control standards. These programs will replace dirty and unsafe buses, and provide new buses for additional school bus service. Funds will also be provided to improve walkpaths leading from homes to schools, allowing other kids to walk or bike to school. Up to 20% of morning traffic is now parents driving kids to school. If the parents have more options: clean, safe school buses, or safe walkpaths to school, driving will decrease dramatically. More than $900 million is provided for these programs. (7105(b)(15) and Sections 12-19).
Dangerous highways. The worst traffic congestion results when accidents occur. Not only does pain, suffering, auto damage and death occur in these accidents, but thousands or even tens of thousands of people are inconvenienced as traffic is tied in knots. The Act provides $440 million to eliminate the most dangerous problems, and get rid of “blood alleys” forever. (7105(b)(16))
Rail improvements. Without proper maintenance, timely replacement of old equipment, and earthquake safety repairs, rail systems cannot be attractive to riders. A clean, modern rail system will convince commuters to get out of their cars, reducing traffic congestion. This program will provide $350 million for these improvements. (7105(b)(17))
Security. In providing service, high priority will be given to making transit systems more secure, both by preventing crime and avoiding terrorism.