Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

County Public Works Dept. says closed county roads to reopen Friday by 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Alhambra Valley Road ClosureContra Costa County plans to reopen the following roads by 5:00 p.m. on January 13, 2017.

  • Marsh Creek Road between the Clayton city limits and Deer Valley Road
  • Morgan Territory Road between Marsh Creek Road and Manning Road
  • McEwen Road between Highway 4 and Carquinez Scenic Drive

The closures wererequired due to mudslides and flooding concerns. Alhambra Valley Road between Bear Creek Road and Castro Ranch Road is closed indefinitely. Signs and message boards will alert drivers of the closure. There is not an estimated timeframe for reopening Alhambra Valley Road at this time.Drivers are encouraged to use the routes on the map below as alternate routes for Alhambra Valley Road.

If you’re concerned about flooding at your home or business, it’s not too late to visit one of the free sandbag stations located throughout the county.  Please note that you’ll need to bring a shovel, but bags and sand are available for free.   Find out details regarding County sandbag sites at www.cccounty.us/sandbags.

County Public Works Maintenance road crews maintain the storm drain inlets through a program of annual inspection and cleaning. To report a clogged catch basin or drainage inlet please call the Public Works Maintenance Division at 925-313-7000 during work hours and after hours call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 925-646-2441.

Important phone numbers and webpages:

(925) 313-7000 Public Works Maintenance Division- For emergencies during normal business hours

(707) 551-4100 California Highway Patrol- For emergencies after hours

(925) 646-2441 Contra Costa County Sheriffs Dispatch- For emergencies after hours

http://www.cccounty.us/sandbags   –  Contra Costa County Sand Bag Locations

http://www.cccounty.us/5906/Winter-Storm-Preparedness-Winter Storm Preparedness

http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/5895/Flooding-Information-Flood Information

http://www.cccounty.us/332/FEMA-Floodplain-Program- FEMA Floodplain Program

http://www.contracosta.ca.gov/1578/Flood-Forecast-Information-How to Flood Forecast

http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/5907/Flood-Preparedness-California Flood Preparedness

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Share your adventure to win an adventure in the Amtrak San Joaquins photo contest

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

photographer-on-train

amtrak-san-joaquins-logo-white-backAmtrak San Joaquins connects California from the San Francisco Bay Area to Bakersfield with 18 stations and 365 miles of track. It connects people to their families back home, their jobs every day and their adventures in national parks, cities and California’s hidden treasures. You could say we’re all about connections. That’s why we want to see how you connect to California – snap a photo while traveling on Amtrak San Joaquins and enter our photo contest!

We want to see your adventures, special moments, silly selfies, great shots of train stations, breathtaking views and more! Click here to enter.

amtrak-photo-contest-prize-list

amtrak-photo-contest-rules

 

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Frazier introduces bill to reduce teen driving accidents

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) introduced AB 63, legislation to reduce vehicle collisions and fatalities among teen drivers by strengthening California’s provisional driver’s license program.

“This bill will help significantly decrease accidents among newly licensed drivers,” stated Frazier. “Increasing the age for a provisional license will ensure that California’s most vulnerable motorists go through proper training to become safe, responsible drivers.”

AB 63 would increase the maximum age to receive a provisional license to 21 years old guaranteeing that less experienced drivers have appropriate protections during this crucial learning period, by amending Section 12814.6 of the California Vehicle Code.

According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, “The bill would expand the scope of the provisional licensing program by extending the applicable age range for the program to 16 to under 21 years of age. By expanding the scope of the provisional licensing program, the violation of which constitutes an infraction, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would authorize a licensee who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age to keep in his or her possession a copy of his or her class schedule or work schedule as documentation to satisfy the exceptions for a school or school-authorized activity and employment necessity, respectively, and would provide that a signed statement by a parent or legal guardian is not required if reasonable transportation facilities are inadequate and the operation of a vehicle by a licensee who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age is necessary to transport the licensee or the licensee’s immediate family member. The bill would make other technical and conforming changes. The bill would also include specified findings and declarations.”

“We are thankful that Assemblymember Frazier has taken on this critically important issue,” said Doug Villars, President of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen. “Traffic collisions are the number one killer of young people in America. We are proud to be sponsors of this bill and look forward to working together toward a common goal—saving young drivers’ lives and making roadways safer for all of us.”

It is estimated that one in three drivers do not receive their license before the age of 18, making them ineligible to participate in the provisional license program. A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association discovered that improvement in fatal crash rates among 18- to 20-year-old drivers was far less than their 15- to 17-year-old counterparts.

Policy expanding this program is essential to building safe driving skills for this at risk population. “We applaud Assemblymember Frazier for introducing this vital legislation,” stated Cathy Barankin, Executive Director CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health. “First time teen drivers are 45 percent more likely to be involved in a vehicle crash. This bill will stop teens from prematurely losing their lives.”

To view the complete text of the bill, click here.

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Frazier reintroduces transportation funding bill, AB1, with 6.7% gas tax, vehicle registration fee increases

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

On Monday, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) introduced AB1 a bill to fund transportation improvements in California. He calls it “a sensible and realistic approach to tackling California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure,” which almost the same as the transportation funding bill he co-sponsored, earlier this year.

“My commitment to passing a comprehensive funding plan that addresses California’s failing transportation system will not waiver,” stated Frazier, who is the Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “This proposal dedicates billions to road and highway repairs that our state so desperately needs while also creating tens of thousands of good paying jobs.”

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1

According to the bill’s text, “This bill would create the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program to address deferred maintenance on the state highway system and the local street and road system. The bill would require the California Transportation Commission to adopt performance criteria, consistent with a specified asset management plan, to ensure efficient use of certain funds available for the program. The bill would provide for the deposit of various funds for the program in the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account, which the bill would create in the State Transportation Fund, including revenues attributable to a $0.012 per gallon increase in the motor vehicle fuel (gasoline) tax imposed by the bill with an inflation adjustment, as provided, an increase of $38 in the annual vehicle registration fee with an inflation adjustment, as provided, a new $165 annual vehicle registration fee with an inflation adjustment, as provided, applicable to zero-emission motor vehicles, as defined, and certain miscellaneous revenues.”

Frazier claims that AB1 represents an adult-in-the-room approach to meeting the vital, long-term needs of California’s transportation system. The proposal if approved will raise an additional $6 billion in annual funding to repair state and local roads, improve trade corridors and support public transit. Also included are measures related to accountability and streamlining of project delivery

“The transportation crisis in California affects each and every part of our state. If we don’t step up and solve it, our economy will decline and the people we represent will suffer,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). “Transportation funding has traditionally been a bipartisan issue and our goal is to work across the aisle to come to a comprehensive solution.”

“We have been working closely with Assemblyman Frazier for more than two years on a variety of concepts to provide the resources local governments need to fix our roads and bridges,” said Kiana Valentine, Legislative Advocate for the California State Association of Counties. “It’s no secret that our vital infrastructure is crumbling and we’re at a tipping point. We urge the Governor and Legislative Leadership to keep their promise to advance this vital legislation early in the 2017 session.”

Once the 2017-18 Legislative Session begins, AB1 will be referred and heard in policy committee.

Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Complaint filed against BART claims Warriors’ Draymond Green ad supports Measure RR

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
exhibit-1-bart-news-article-draymond-green

Screenshot of an ad featuring the Warriors’ Draymond Green supporting BART on the agency’s website, provided as evidence to support the complaint.

BART says ad was paid for by the Warriors

By Allen Payton

Another campaign trick was played on Halloween, when Lafayette attorney Jason Bezis filed a complaint against BART for using public funds, on Monday, October 31st. He claims the government agency is using public funds to promote the bond Measure RR on the November ballot.

In an email about his complaint, Bezis wrote, “I just filed a complaint with the FPPC about BART’s video using Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors to promote Measure RR ($3.5 billion BART bond measure).  I argue that BART is illegally using public resources to influence voters to vote yes on Measure RR.”

Bezis’ complaint states, “complaint concerns BART public resources used illegally to plan, produce and publicize a video featuring basketball player Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors to promote Measure RR. On Friday, October 28, 2016, BART released a 31-second video titled ‘Draymond Says’ and an accompanying ‘news article,’ YouTube post, Facebook post, and Twitter post to promote the video. The BART video, BART World Web (sic) [Wide] Web homepage, BART ‘news article,’ BART YouTube post, BART Facebook post and BART Twitter post all contain the message ‘BART needs to stay safe and reliable.’

These communications paid for with public moneys by BART, a local governmental agency, unambiguously urge a particular result in the November 2016 election: they urge ‘yes’ votes for Measure RR, referred to on the ballot as ‘BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief.’ These BART communications constitute ‘contributions’ or ‘independent expenditures’ benefiting the Yes on RR campaign (FPPC ID#1381218), officially named the ‘Committee to Keep BART Safe and Reliable,’ which uses the phrase ‘Keep BART Safe and Reliable’ in its campaign logo.”

Bezis then offers what he wants BART to basically admit they’re using public money to campaign for the ballot measure and to file the necessary finance reports for the expenditures.

His complaint concludes with the following:

“As BART has engaged in campaign activity, pursuant to Regulation 18420.1(f), the FPPC should require BART to file the necessary campaign finance reports for the direct and indirect costs of its campaign activities relating to promotion of Measure RR on the November 2016 ballot in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. BART needs to publicly disclose the value of public resources that it expended for campaign activities supporting passage of Measure RR as either a contribution to Yes on RR campaign or as an independent expenditure supporting Measure RR. For the “Draymond Says” video, BART needs to report as campaign activity the costs of planning the video, production of the video, and promotion of the video via YouTube, Twitter, its internet homepage, its BART “news article,” and by other means of publicity. If Draymond Green is a “paid spokesperson” for BART, then a Form 511 report must be filed.”

Bezis also provided evidence to support his complaint, which can be seen, below.

When reached for comment BART Board Member Joel Keller responded “The complainant believes the District used public funds to promote a ballot measure and has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). There is a fine line between education and advocacy and it is appropriate to wait for the FPPC’s response before discussing the merits of the complaint.  However, as a supporter of the Dub Nation and admirer of the heart and intensity of Draymond Green’s play, it’s too bad that the motivation for the video about the Warriors and BART has become controversial because it is a slam dunk.”

Kerry Hamill, BART’s Assistant General Manager for External Affairs said

“We have had an ongoing relationship with the Golden State Warriors for years at BART.

We provide extra service to their games.

They promote BART in a variety of ways, like this video, which they showed at one of their last pre-season games.

We did not pay for it. The District absolutely did not pay for it. It’s the Warriors’ video and they used it for their pre-season game to show during the game.

They let us use it for BARTable, which is a website and a newsletter that promotes off-peak ridership to various games, activities, shows and festivals.

Bezis “has a pattern of filing complaints,” she said. “He did this several times against the Measure BB campaign in 2014. Everything was dismissed by the FPPC in that case.”

“I really want the Warriors to be applauded for encouraging people to take BART to the game and get cars off the road,” Hamill. “It’s a lot safer and smarter to take public transit to a game, when you’re going to drink and party.

“The Warriors and BART shouldn’t be attacked for promoting taking transit. People should take BART to the game.”

The FPPC has 14 days to decide if they intend to investigate the complaint, refer the complaint to another agency, take no action either because the Commission doesn’t have the authority or the allegations do not warrant any further action.

The election is Tuesday, November 8th.

 

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Sunny outlook for solar power at Antioch, Lafayette BART stations

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

On October 27, the Board of Directors authorized BART to enter into an agreement with Solar City to install, operate, and maintain solar panels at the new, upcoming Antioch station as well as Lafayette Station.

BART will purchase electricity generated from these two new installations, which once constructed will be the largest solar generation facilities on District property.  As an additional benefit to customers, the panel canopies will provide shade over a portion of the parking lots at each location.

“The BART to Antioch project is putting a brand new face on transit in eastern Contra Costa, and it’s exciting to see new, environmentally-friendly technologies like solar powering up these upcoming stations,” said BART Director Joel Keller.

The cost of the project will be paid from the energy operating budget, and will cost a cumulative $3.75 million and $3.85 million at Antioch and Lafayette stations, respectively, over the 20-year term of the agreement.

Construction of the panels is expected to be completed at Antioch station by fall 2017, and in Lafayette by late spring 2017.

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Highway 4 Bypass at Balfour Road interchange work to begin in late 2016, early 2017

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The low-bid contract, awarded to two Contra Costa firms, is $3.9 million below costs budgeted for this final piece of State Route 4 Bypass Project

On Wednesday, October 19 the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) Board voted unanimously to award a contract to Brosamer & Wall, Inc. and Bay Cities Paving & Grading for the construction of a number of improvements to the State Route 4/Balfour Road interchange. The purpose of the project is to improve traffic flow on State Route 4 and enhance safety for everyone who uses the interchange at Balfour Road. It is the final roadway element of the State Route 4 Bypass Project, constructed with over $400 million in local funds and $25 million in State funds, over the last sixteen years. It includes the completion of the two lanes between Sand Creek and Balfour Roads.

Contra Costa-based construction firms Brosamer & Wall and Bay Cities Paving & Grading formed a joint venture to bid on this project (BWBCJV).  BWBCJV’s low-bid is approximately $3.9 million below the $40,855,000 budgeted for the construction phase of the project.

The project has also benefitted from the Contra Costa Water District’s (CCWD) work with Caltrans to lift a mandate that would have required the relocation of a water line near the site. The deal allowed for the 90-inch water main to remain in place and saved Contra Costa taxpayers $18 million.

“I’m excited to see CCTA move forward on the State Route 4/Balfour Road interchange improvements by awarding this contract. That it is going to two Contra Costa construction firms who came in with an extremely competitive bid, makes it even better,” said Brentwood Mayor and CCTA Commissioner Robert Taylor.

The project will result in a new interchange at the junction of State Route 4 and Balfour Road in Brentwood replacing the existing at-grade signals with a new structure which will carry State Route 4 traffic over Balfour Road. New on- and off-ramps will allow traffic to smoothly enter State Route 4 from Balfour Road and vice versa.  This new configuration will ease traffic congestion and improve safety at this busy intersection.

“Finally, we’re going to have this section of the Bypass completed, giving us a safer roadway and allowing people to spend less time sitting in traffic and more time with their family,” said Doug Hardcastle, Chairman of the State Route 4 Bypass Authority and Chair of Transplan, the East County division of the CCTA. “It’s our job as leaders to make sure the money is spent properly and to give the people living in East County a better quality of life. This is part of the progression of the road that will eventually connect to Tracy.”

This portion of the State Route 4 project is budgeted at $74.3 million including Environmental Clearance and Design, Utility Relocation, and Construction and Construction Management. The engineer’s estimate for construction was $40,855,000. BWBCJV’s bid of $36,925,826 results in a savings of $3.9 million. Both Brosamer & Wall, which is based in Walnut Creek and Concord-based Bay Cities Paving and Grading have a long history of providing excellent service on CCTA projects. Brosamer & Wall is currently under contract with the Authority on the I-80/San Pablo Dam Road project. Bay Cities Paving & Grading has worked on a number of projects for CCTA, including the State Route 4 Hillcrest project and the State Route 4 Widening and Sand Creek Interchange project.

“We are incredibly proud to be part of a project that will improve safety and improve the flow of traffic in our home county,” said Bob Brosamer with Brosamer & Wall. “By forming a partnership we’ve been able to offer a very competitive rate and we are putting local measure dollars to work using local residents on our workforce,” added Ben Rodriguez with Bay Cities Paving & Grading.

Utility work has already begun for the new interchange and construction is expected to begin in late 2016 or early 2017 and is expected to be complete in late Summer 2019.

About The Contra Costa Transportation Authority

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.

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Antioch Council discusses housing for homeless, votes to bring in ARF to help Animal Shelter

Friday, October 7th, 2016

arf-logoBy Nick Goodrich

During its meeting on Tuesday, September 27th, the Antioch City Council heard a report from Assemblyman Jim Frazier, discussed housing for the city’s homeless, and  voted to bring in Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) to provide help for its struggling animal shelter.

Frazier’s Report

To open the meeting, Council hosted Assemblyman Jim Frazier, who provided an update on his recent legislative activities in the California State Assembly and sought support for his transportation funding proposal.

Frazier was pleased to note the completion of the Highway 4 corridor widening project, which he has worked for since his time on Transplan, the East County division of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

The project, which amounted to $1.3 billion through the county’s half-cent sales tax measure and state funds, created over 12,000 jobs and employed more than 40 local businesses.

“We have infrastructure in poor shape. It’s horrible, it’s crumbling,” he said. As the chairman of the Transportation Committee in California, Frazier said he has made it his mission to create and support various transportation projects in the state.

He reported that he has been working with his colleagues, local communities, and industry experts to develop an all-inclusive plan that would help make major improvements to California’s transportation and infrastructure.

“By strengthening trade corridors and improving the movement of goods, this proposal keeps businesses in California,” he told the Council.

In addition, Frazier’s plan calls for an additional $7.4 billion annually to be designated for transportation in the state. It includes increases to the tax on gas and diesel, as well as to the vehicle license registration fee.

He called on Antioch residents and citizens throughout California to show their enthusiasm for his plan by writing letters of support to their local newspapers and representatives.

“Let’s make transportation funding a priority this year,” he said.

Public Hearing: Priorities for Housing and Homeless

Council also oversaw a public hearing on priorities for Antioch’s homeless population. The city’s plan, which began with a study session in August of this year, includes providing a grant program for mobile home owners and seeking County funds to support homeless outreach.

Outreach to Antioch’s homeless will soon see an increase, as at least one County-funded outreach team will begin operating mostly in the East Bay—namely, Pittsburg, Antioch, etc. All homeless outreach in Contra Costa will be funded by the County, but Antioch has still managed to allocate $38,000 for the fiscal year in order to resolve the issue of homelessness in the city.

The Council is expected to allocate extra money toward increased outreach as needed—for example, if a second outreach team is deemed necessary, the city will contribute to the County’s funding to help make that happen. Or, an outreach team that operates in the evening will be given the funding to allow it to operate for more hours during the week.

An East County care center, designed to replace the resource center that used to work with the Don Brown shelter on 4th Street, was tentatively approved for County funding to the tune of over $660,000.

East County is currently the only County location that does not have a multi-resource center. A suitable location is still in the works, however, and funding for the center won’t be available for the next 8-10 months.

Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock made sure to clarify that, if the city needs to, it can always designate more than its current $38,000 to help out.

“I just want to make sure our hands aren’t tied,” she said.

Animal Rescue Foundation Steps In

The Council then discussed a Memorandum of Understanding for a partnership with Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF).

ARF has agreed to provide the Antioch Animal Shelter with services and expertise in key areas for a one-year period, at no cost to the City. The partnership comes on the heels of months of complaints about the state of Antioch’s Animal Shelter, by many residents.

During the Council’s last meeting, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando presented a list of options for the city to consider to begin addressing some of the issues the shelter faces, such as funding shortages and a lack of trained professionals. Seeking outside help was among them.

Several residents from the surrounding area stated their satisfaction with the ARF partnership, including Louise McGuire, a resident of Concord, where ARF has run a successful shelter for years.

“I applaud the Memorandum of Understanding,” McGuire told the Council. “I hope that this resolution will benefit the lives of the animals in the shelter, and also the people the people that care for them.”

Karen Kopps, President of HARP, the Homeless Animals Response Program, was happy with the news.

“I’m also delighted that this update is being done now, and not in early 2017,” she stated. “So, thank you.”

An initial meeting and walk through of the shelter will be conducted with ARF soon, the council reported. That will allow ARF to determine the number of staff and number of hours they will provide.

Harper was happy to give the community a concrete course of action after continued complaints about the shelter.

“TherResolution is not yet a detailed plan,” he said. “But it looks like we’re attempting to take steps move forward. We’re listening. We still have a responsibility to make improvements…Now it’s time for us to start making those improvements.”

The resolution to approve the understanding with ARF was approved by Council in a unanimous 5-0 vote.

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