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Tri-Valley Mayors Discuss Traffic Problems, Technology and Grants

The five Tri-Valley mayors are at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors

From Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti:

On an annual basis, the Mayors of all five Tri-Valley cities (Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, and San Ramon) come to Washington, D.C. in January to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors. We also use the opportunity in the nation’s Capitol to meet with our representatives in Congress and several federal agencies on issues that impact our region.

Over the years we have been able to secure millions of dollars in funding for
transportation, public safety, and housing, along with securing support for other
policies that are high priorities for the Tri-Valley. This year the trip coincides with the Presidential Inauguration so we will be attending that as well on Monday.

The Tri-Valley Mayors first day in Washington, D.C. was definitely busy, as we attended workshops, shared best practices with other civic leaders across the country, heard an address from Vice President Joe Biden, and went to Capitol Hill.

I will spend time in my next column detailing Biden’s remarks and some of the highlights of the workshop. For this column I will focus on our meeting on Capitol Hill with our new Congressman Eric Swalwell and his legislative staff. They were very responsive to our needs as we covered a wide range of topics and had a very productive dialogue.

One of the main topics we discussed the area’s traffic problems and we asked for support of projects to ease congestion for one of the Bay Area’s most impacted areas on I-580, I-680, and Highway 84. We all agreed that improvements would create immediate jobs, assist the region in the long-term by making it easier to move goods and commuters, and improve the Tri-Valley’s overall quality of life. One additional area we identified was the possibility of enhancing the East Bay’s bicycle and pedestrian mobility with improvements to the Iron Horse Trail crossings and other gap closure measures. We all acknowledged that it is a difficult environment right now to secure funding, but that we would work collectively with his office to secure any discretionary funds that become available.

In terms of policy, we discussed the importance of the technology transfers taking place at both Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories. We discussed how these could help the labs in their mission while also serving as an engine for economic growth in the Tri-Valley. Specifically, we asked for support to work with IGATE and the labs to execute a lease and secure funding to build an open campus facility that would allow the partnerships between the labs, industry, and academia to flourish.

On a related note, we also requested his support to work with the Department of Commerce and EDA on some of their grant opportunities given the potential to create thousands of new high-paying jobs in our region.

Another important policy area that we covered was support of community television. Currently, community television (i.e. TV30 or Tri-Valley Community Television) is funded through the franchise fee’s PEG (Public, Education, Government) funds. This is a fee that by law is already collected for cable subscribers. Since 2011, the way these funds were used changed and now we can only fund capitol expenses for community television. This is problematic in that it’s great to have new equipment, but without the ability to fund operating costs we will not be able to fund personnel to use the equipment and run the actual station.

Across California over 60 community television stations have
closed in recent years, along with hundreds across the country. Specifically, we asked that the restrictions that currently exist on PEG funds be lifted so we could use the dollars for operating expenses. We all noted that this does not involve raising new revenue but rather just re-allocates how existing dollars are spent. Congressman Swalwell was very supportive and has already begun work on this matter.

We are looking forward to continuing the follow-up with his office on all of these items in the coming months. We will be meeting with Congressman George Miller along with some of the federal agencies that deal with the matters on our federal agenda early next week, and I will give an update afterwards.

LL January 22, 2013 at 01:22 AM
With all due respect, from my viewpoint; there has always been traffic congestion on 580 and the revamping of the lanes hasn't helped one bit. (Even though it should have) Since 2000, jobs have come and gone in the bay area and people did their migrating thing (especially the four years ago, you mentioned, when people started the mass exit from California) You can throw out numbers all you want but the fact still remains, the traffic problem hasn't been solved and probably never will be. The truck traffic from the port and the bay area needs a solution. You solve that problem and then you will be earning people's respect. Justify all you want, only those that have lived here know the real facts. Livermore follows but it never leads, it does what the state dictates, growing and expanding all for the good the deep pockets of Sacramento. But all that waste of money has gotten us no place. Great 7 policemen, what ever happened to the cut that was forced on the department years ago because our treasury surplus was spent on the Bank Head? I am tired of the gobbly gook. We want the problems of traffic congestion to be solved now. And, Bart is not the answer to Livermore's congestion. it is just a money pit. "With all due respect."
Rich Buckley January 29, 2013 at 03:44 PM
The annual mayor's conference is a quaint remnant of old Washington, a job perk for mayorship. The IT folks, on the other hand, see it more as a annual conference-promoter's full employment guarantee, than as an essential function. The very notion that the business of government requires face-to-face only prevents us from seeing, open, transparent government evolve in a more people friendly, democratic manner. I grow tired of business as usual, when everything transmitted could have been done electronically, with the public invited to watch their mayor, on line. Surely there's room for improvement. Nor are our mayors and congress people expected to challenge the local lab, LLNL. But there are some area's I think we need to push local lab directors at LLNL to resist the reluctant nature of their own top-tier managers, embedded as they appear to be with extraordinary conflicts of interest in nuclear power production, and the military industrial complex. Task the lab to sponsor a Zero Point Energy conference and demonstration fair. They will never try it without broad encouragement. End Part 1
Rich Buckley January 29, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Part 2 of 2 Several, perhaps many researchers, profess to be on the cusp of Zero Point Energy, also known incorrectly and somewhat misleadingly as "Free Energy."  These devices are claimed by their inventors to tap into and harvest the density energy of vacuum space. Generically referred to as "Over Unity" devices, they theoretically produce more energy than they consume to build and run. It seems to be time to call them forward...in a scientifically responsible public demonstration. Either these devices exist or they do not. Either they are merely part of the alternative media energy mythology narrative or they are real. If they do exist, society needs to enable their proliferation in some palpable manner to carefully phase out our dependence on fossil fuels. http://tinyurl.com/87n23fx Industries can remake themselves. Film was replaced with digital and we survived. Vacuum tubes replaced by microchips and we survived and the list goes on and on.  Let's dare to sponsor an international scientific challenge by the likes of NASA, LLNL, Sandia, Stanford, UCB, to hold a local public demonstration of such devices locally, in the SF Bay Area, maybe even right here in energy research's back yard, Livermore, Ca.
Ben February 04, 2013 at 09:15 AM
Mayor Marchandi, I am glad to see that you are personally writing to address the issues.What Highway 84 needs as it is expanded is more commuter traffic & less trucks. Due to the widening of Hwy 84 to six lanes at its throat, a lot of Big Rigs (currently >400 /day i.e.1 every 3 minutes) have begun to use Isabel Ave as a 5 minute shortcut through our backyards & wine country & are turning the formerly sylvan 2-lane road into a safety, environmental, noise & pollution hazard. As local residents we face potential maiming from these speeding jumbo trucks every time we step outside our front gates with our families. As Highway-84 expansion progresses further & as the Paragon 250+ outlet mall ramps, more & more trucks discover this route. As a community, unless we actively raise our voices now & oppose the increase in big-rig traffic (and force it to stay on the 580-680 designated corridor), this will only continue to get worse. We do not want anyone in our community to be a casualty, for a 5 mile & 5.4 minute shortcut of convenience for out-of-town trucks that travel thousands of miles on a trip & seek to avoid a tragedy befalling us, before action is considered to be necessary.
Ben February 04, 2013 at 09:16 AM
To further followup on concrete measures. We need to do what is right for our community & not be deterred by Caltrans procedures that require expensive, long winded multi-year procedures (that unfortunately may go nowhere) or statistics touted that are easily skewed to suit the result required. I & 200 of my immediate Livermore & Pleasanton neighbors along this road do not want to sit on our hands & have truck traffic (already terrible) in our backyards to worsen & seek to make this road safer & quieter for all of us & our local commuters & not be blighted in perpetuity due to (your & our) inaction (which would make existing truck traffic a 'precedent') http://www.change.org/petitions/ban-big-rigs-on-highway-84

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