Email from Mayor Bukowski of Emeryville, CA

From: "Ken Bukowski" [for email, contact MTS]
Subject: CALTRANS to Public re BBridge ballot Measures: Drop Dead
Date sent: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 19:43:45 -0800

The following letter was received today, by the mayors of the four cities who wrote a letter to both CalTrans and MTC about the passage of the advisory ballot measures. The CalTrans response to the Mayors letters is nothing less than what was expected. It essentially says that they are going to stay on their present course.

I don't know how they can move forward without an approved EIS document. If you remember the EIS was rejected. The purpose for an EIS, is to look at the impacts of a project, and then chose the> design based upon the analysis contained in the document. Indeed there is no useful purpose for the document if its analysis is just going to be tossed aside.....


P.O. BOX 942873
SACRAMENTO, CA. 94273-0001
PHONE: (916) 654-5267
FAX: (916) 654-6608
December 28, 1998
Mayor Shirley Dean
City of Berkeley
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
Mayor Ken Bukowski
City of Emeryville
2200 Powell Street- 12th Floor
Emeryville, CA 94608
Mayor-Elect Jerry Brown
City of Oakland
One City Hall Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
Mayor Elihu M. Harris
City of Oakland
One City Hall Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr..
City of San Francisco
401 Van Ness Avenue- Room 336
San Francisco, Ca 94102
Dear Mayors and Mayor-Elect;

Thank you for your letter of December 7, 1998, regarding the passage of four local advisory measures regarding passenger rail service on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) East Span seismic Safety Project was released to the public on September 24, 1998. The comment period for this Draft EIS closed on November 23, 1998. The purpose of this project is to address the serious seismic deficiencies of the existing structure. Adding plans to the SFOBB is beyond the scope of this seismic safety project. An array of reasonable alternatives which address the purpose and need of the East Span Seismic Safety Project was included and analyzed in the Draft EIS; pacing trains on the bridge was not part of this array.  

Under existing state and federal law, transportation projects are developed consistent with a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Under federal law, this RTP must be it fiscally constrained planning document developed by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the MPO for the Bay Area, has an adopted RTP consistent with federal law. This RTP has a twenty year planning horizon and includes transit enhancements in the Transbay Corridor. The East Span Seismic Safety Project is consistent with MTC's RTP. The ballot measures in your four cities did not modify, or amend, MTC's RTP.  

Senate Bill 60 which was signed into law on August 20, 1997, outlined the funding for the East Span Seismic Safety Project. Senate Bill 60 added section 30604.5 to the Streets and Highways Code which states: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, local and state permitting authorities shall not impose any requirement that a . . . mass transit facility be constructed on me San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge as a condition for issuing any permit, granting any easement, or granting any other form of approval needed, for the construction of a new bridge.'' This is a clear statement of legislative intent that the project is not a mass transit or rail project and that it focus' on seismic safety. The ballot measures, in your four cities, did not modify or amend existing State law.  

Senate Bill 60 also implemented a carefully crafted funding package for the seismic retrofit of all toll bridges in the State of California, including the SFOBB. Reaching a legislative consensus on this funding package was a time-consuming and difficult process. This funding package did not provide for consideration of rail on the SFOBB, and therefore, the State legislature would have to reconsider its funding decision before anyone could consider incorporating rail into the SFOBB East Span Seismic Safety Project. Given the significant cost associated with rail, undoing the existing consensus would, at best, significantly delay the current seismic safety project.  

Your letter references the interim seismic retrofit of the eastern span of the SFOBB. It is imperative to clarify the purpose of this project. The purpose of the interim seismic retrofit of the east span of the SFOBB is to prevent multi-span collapse with the resulting catastrophic loss of life that will result from a moderate. more probable earthquake.  

The interim seismic retrofit does not provide protection from a large earthquake; that is the purpose of the East Span Seismic Safety Project. After the interim seismic retrofit of the east span is complete, a maximum credible earthquake will still result in a multi-span collapse of the SFOBB. Therefore, the interim retrofit does not provide sufficient performance to justify postponing the East Span Seismic Safety Project. Delaying the SFOBB East Span Seismic Safety Project would jeopardize public safety. It will risk lives. Therefore we can not delay the East Span Seismic Safety Project.

As part of the planning process for the SFOBB East Span Seismic Safety Project MTC has recommended to the Department of Transportation (CalTrans) its locally desired option. CalTrans and FHWA Are the legal decision makers for this project and are fulfilling this role. Due to the pressing public safety risk associated with the existing SFOBB, CalTrans is embarked upon risk design for MTC's locally recommended alternative. CalTrans acknowledges that this risk design may be discarded with the NEPA decision. However, it is prudent to risk the cost of preparing this design. since it can potentially provide public safety at a much earlier date.  

This risk design provides flexibility, so future decision makers could easily modify the structure to add light rail. This flexibility is being accomplished by selectively strengthening supporting bridge sections beneath the shoulders of the new bridge. Decision makers in the future then will have the option of deciding how best to use the space on the new bridge to address the region's transportation challenges.  

We believe that it would be prudent to investigate rail options in the Transbay Corridor separate from the SFOBB East Span Seismic Safety Project. We support the points made in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC) letter to you dated December 16, 1998, concerning options to be studied. We wish to work with MTC and the Bay Area community to conduct an analysis of these options.  

In the interest of public safety, we will keep the SFOBB East Span Seismic Safety Project on schedule for completion at the earliest possible date. We look forward to working with the Bay Area to complete a rail planning study to facilitate future projects and future decisions.  




Thank You,
Mayor Ken Bukowski
City of Emeryville
5880 Doyle Street
Emeryville, Ca. 94608
fax 547-2318


home page | about MTS | Cashout | HOV lanes | Bay Bridge | Solution | Allow Pedestrians! | AGT | letters | webmaster