May 5 2014

OPINION: Keating Opposes Use of Transportation Funds to Repave the Corporation Yard

The following letter was submitted to the City Council and PCA pertaining to pavement projects on the May 5, 2014, Council agenda:  05-05-14 – Consideration of the Award of the 2014 Pavement Project to MCK Services, Inc. in the Amount of $491,420.85, Approval of an Overall Construction Budget of $594,803 and Determination of Exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act
Hello City Council:
      I see from the staff report that the cost estimate for the repaving of the Corp Yard has been reduced and Measure B funds no longer proposed to be used for the project.  Paving of the Corp Yard is now proposed to be funded totally by Measure F.  As the ballot statement for that measure indicates, this funding is really intended for transportation projects, not the repaving of municipal facilities.
Alameda County Transportation Improvement Measure F:
To repair and maintain local streets and roads; improve traffic flow and bicyclist, pedestrian and driver safety; improve public transportation; and encourage green transportation options; shall a local vehicle registration fee of ten dollars be established in Alameda County with expenditures subject to strict monitoring and with all revenues staying in Alameda County?
I think the justification for the use of Measure F funds for the Corp Yard needs to be better elaborated so that voters will understand how their use pertains to street repair and maintenance.  Voters may easily be dissuaded to support Measure B if they see such funds being used for inappropriate projects.
      Council should explore other funding sources for the Corp Yard project.    First, this project should rightly be funded as a facilities maintenance project – separating out the pavement from the building seems inappropriate.  And if the justification for using Measure F is that Corp Yard pavement used for city operations is part of the street maintenance program then the same can be said for the Sewer Replacement Program which requires a larger fleet of city vehicles. The Emergency Repair budget in the Sewer Program is being used for preventive replacement of sewer mains but could likely be used for this project without violating the EPA CD.  Joint use of facility maintenance and sewer funds could be used to pay for this project as well as other special funds.
      But the main reason to explore other funding sources for the Corp Yard is to dedicate more funds to needed street repair.  The City Engineer indicated at the last Council meeting that streets with PCI below 50 were not being considered in the annual pavement maintenance program.  That categorical exclusion of Piedmont streets from repair needs be addressed.  For example, Magnolia from Hillside to Nova has a PCI of 40 – that is a highly trafficed street should be repaired and doign so sooner than later seems to be a more cost-effective approach. And a few streets in Piedmont have a PCI rated as “failed”.  Measure F funds could be accumulated and used for these streets.
                   Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont City Council Member
Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

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