Link21 is a long-range transportation program sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) and the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (Capitol Corridor) to transform the passenger rail network serving the 21-county Northern California Megaregion, which includes the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the Monterey Bay area, the Sacramento area, and the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Although planning is in its infancy, some aspects of the vision for the long-range transportation solution are foundational cornerstones of the vision:
- An additional Transbay rail crossing between Oakland and San Francisco for BART
- Integrating rail service across the 21 Counties in the Northern California Megaregion to make rail travel from the South Bay to the East Bay and Sacramento to San Francisco much more efficient and less confusing and time consuming.
Upon my first reading of this ambitious “vision”, my opinion is that if you hate the concept of SMART, you will really hate the concept of LINK 21. Here is a link to the way the planners envision their “dream” system of integrated rail systems for the Northern California Megaregion:
Given the pandemic, I have to ask whether the public will accept increased use of public transportation as a means of travelling around a very crowded San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. It goes without saying that we cannot keep building highways and bridges to handle more and more single rider occupied cars for our long-range transportation solution. The writing is on the wall in BIG BOLD LETTERING that those days are over. But will businessmen and businesswomen, students, and travelers accept sitting in an enclosed car, no matter how comfortable, in close proximity to others, to ride from Sacramento to San Francisco and from San Jose to SF and Oakland? No matter your opinion on that question, I would say if you were the one caught in the regular commute in Highway 80 or Highway 37, your opinion might be different than our “privileged” view from the North Bay area. Once the pandemic is over, the gridlock will return to 80 and 37 and will that be enough to sway public opinion as to how we commute? Or will it be so freaking bad that those who are able, simply choose to move? Well now, isn’t that the $64 Billion dollar question?
Needless to say, the BART system from Oakland to SF is over capacity now. Unless businesses and residents move out of the Bay Area, it will only get worse. And whether we like the concept or not, BART is going to try to build another Transbay tube-so if they do, shouldn’t they try to tie that into some way to relieve the mess on 80 and 37? I think they should.
Of course-the problem might be figuring out how to fund this “vision”. Preliminary estimates (and you know how we can trust those right?) are the additional Transbay tube would cost $29 billion. I am guessing that is around 1/10th of the actual build cost when it finally gets built.
At any rate, how does all this affect us? As we keep trying to compete for projects both public and private, the health of our region economically and socially is part of the long-term puzzle. If we do nothing and support “business as usual” as the solution and road map, I can guarantee you that is not happening. It is always best to be a part of the solution as it is being drawn up rather than simply accepting it afterwards. The ECA will continue to stay plugged in to the discussion and planning as best we are able, and we will continue to share the developing news with our membership.
I found the LINK 21 ambitious, thought provoking, perhaps a bit naïve as to funding problems, but worthy of some attention-at least one Soapbox!
That’s all folks!
Allocation of Pacific Gas and Electric Settlement Funds for Transportation, Utilities Undergrounding, Communications, Safety, and Preparedness Infrastructure Investments – Link
Pressure Treated Wood Disposal Update
As I previously notified you all (December Newsletter-thanks to Duston Abbott of Pacific Sanitation!), disposal of pressure treated scraps of wood became a huge problem as of 1/1/2021. Brief history of what happened:
In September, Governor Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 68 (Galgani, 2020). As a result of the veto, the part of the statute that authorized the alternative management standards for treated wood waste (Section 25150.7 of the Health and Safety Code-click here for link to read the code itself
The accepted handling of treated wood sunsetted as of 12/31/2020. Related to this veto by Newsom, is the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) protocol for alternative management standards for treated wood waste found in the California Code of Regulations, title 22, Div 4,5 Chapter 34, also expired on 12/312020.
Sorry for the technical “gobblygook” above, but the end result of Newsom’s misguided veto of Senate Bill 68 is that treated wood waste is now subject to the full set of hazardous waste regulations just like asbestos and other toxic materials. This happened on 1-1-2021.
- Practically, what effect does this have on ECA members?
- If fencing contractors, vineyard operations, housing contractors, demo contractors or even homeowners doing work on their own home or business, now have extraordinary restrictions on getting rid of any treated wood waste. Republic Services refuses to take any treated wood waste at their landfill. Pacific Sanitation refuses to take any at their facilities. If you wanted to get rid of the treated wood waste legally, you would need to hire a certified hazardous material contractor to gather the wood scraps and properly bag and label them, and then hire a certified hazardous hauler who tracks the shipment on their manifest, and haul it to Yuma, Az or Buttonwillow (near Kettlemen City) and pay very high disposal fees to those landfills. If anybody tries to mix their treated wood debris into a garbage can, debris box, or dump truck load and take it to a landfill, they would be subject to illegally dumping of hazardous and toxic materials.
Certainly, this issue affects the North Coast Builders Exchange and the Farm Bureau more than our ECA members, but you should be aware of the new law as you may wish to modify your contract language or subcontract or service contract language to accommodate for the additional liability exposure now in place.
Rick Downey of Republic Services and Dustin Abbott of Pacific Sanitation both inform me that they are communicating with the DTSC either directly or through a lobbyist to write a variance that would allow us to go back to the “old way” of handling treated wood waste. That variance, although it is being discussed and worked on, does not exist yet and it is uncertain what the wording will be when (or if) it is written.
The latest information from the DTSC can be found on this link –
I will be discussing this with our local elected officials to see if they are trying to do anything about this issue for local businesses and homeowners and will update you in a future newsletter.
Any wonder why it costs a lot to do business in, and live in the State of California?