In a survey of Orinda voters commissioned by the Orinda City Council, “[s]even in 10 voters would initially support a $20 million bond measure” to fix Orinda roads (Lamorinda Weekly, Feb. 12). The results of the survey were presented to the city council on Feb. 4. The survey was conducted by the FM3 company, located in Oakland.
The key question is this: Is any kind of bond measure needed to fix Orinda roads?
According to an Orinda environmental group, Orinda Watch, sufficient money is already being collected from gasoline taxes to fund Orinda’s bad roads. Orinda Watch argues that Orinda does not need a bond measure for road repair.
Orinda Watch, in a statement released on Feb. 12, says that Plan Bay Area, a project calling for the construction of high-density, high-rise housing in Orinda and elsewhere, “takes massive amounts of public funds from gas tax revenues that should go to road maintenance and diverts them to mass transit subsidies . . . ” The statement adds: “These diversions of gas tax revenue have been practiced by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) for many years . . . ”
MTC is a regional governmental transportation agency whose directors and officers have not been elected directly by voters. MTC’s chairperson is Amy Worth, who also sits on the Orinda City Council.
MTC has not been shy about disclosing its intentions. In a report issued on May 10, 2010, MTC said that automobile pollutants (often called greenhouse-gas or GHG emissions) can be lowered. In the report, MTC stated: “Most of the GHG reductions that can be realized will result from how successful the region can be in moving toward more dense/mixed use transit oriented development and implementing creative ways to price the transportation system to adequately reflect the true costs of a limited resource.”
It appears that MTC, rather than voters, is deciding how gasoline-tax money is to be spent.