James R. Mills

From 1960 to 1982, James R. Mills was a highly productive member of the State Legislature during which he served with distinction as the State Senate’s pro-transit Transportation Committee Chair and later as its President pro tem. During his time in the Legislature he was a consistent champion of improving passenger rail and other forms of public transit. He was justly proud of his legislative accomplishments which helped create the extensive and highly successful San Diego Trolley system and brought significant public transit improvements to many other parts of California. Mills died on March 27, 2021 at age 93.

Would AB455 Put More Riders on Transbay Buses?

Assembly Bill 455 (Rob Bonta) tries to address the long-standing need to increase transbay bus ridership by calling for a dedicated bus lane on the Bay Bridge, beginning with a plan to be completed by January 1, 2023. Even before COVID, ridership on transbay buses was dismally low. For instance in 2019 AC Transit’s transbay ridership with its 27 separate transbay bus lines was only 13,000 riders a day. 

AB 455 is unfortunately based upon the false premise that improving bus flow on just the bridge and its approaches is all that’s needed to give transbay bus ridership a major boost. We seriously doubt this.

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Making “Seamless Transit” Real

The subject, previously dubbed “integrated transit systems”, (now shortened to “seamless transit”), has been discussed for decades.

Yet, even though Seamless Transit is supported in principle by almost everyone, not much has changed. (The Salesforce Transit Center is an exception, but even there the trains are still missing). The region’s assorted transit systems are mostly just as chopped up and disconnected as ever. Various reasons are advanced for this.

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BATWG Critiques Valley Link Draft Environmental Impact Report

For almost a year BATWG has struggled to find the transportation logic behind the frantic effort to push the $3,000,000,000 + Valley Link proposal to the front of the line for federal funding.

Background:  Valley Link is a proposed 42-mile commuter rail service with a significant portion to be operated in both directions on a single track. The line would run from the East Dublin BART station via the north edge of Livermore and Tracy to North Lathrop in San Joaquin County. On 9.24.20, $400,000,000 in Alameda County sales tax funds were unaccountably diverted from their voter-approved intent of improving transit connections between BART and the Tri-Valley to the Valley Link proposal (hereinafter VL.)

On 12.2.20 the Draft Environment Impact Report (DEIR), estimated to be at least 5,000 pages long was finally released, with public comment due by 1.21.21. During the ensuing 40 days BATWG critiqued the document which we believe fails to meet CEQA, Alameda County Measure BB and AB758 requirements in a number of significant ways. Our critiques were submitted to the sponsoring agency before the deadline. Here is part of what we found.

Project Alternatives:  CEQA requires that major infrastructure projects include viable alternatives to compare against the “preferred alternative”. Not a single one of the some 30 so-called “alternatives” listed in the DEIR come anywhere close to meeting this CEQA requirement. There were and are other options available. Here are two, either of which could serve local and regional travel needs better than VL would. Both have so far been ignored:

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