Lidia Diaz-Fong & Neil Datar
November 3, 2016
Living in Silicon Valley provides Santa Clara students with incredible opportunities, but we all know that our access to transportation could be greatly improved—the region’s heavy, logjam traffic threatens our quality of life and ability to easily travel to and from campus.
Measure B is an initiative on this year’s ballot for Santa Clara County authored by the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The passage of Measure B would provide almost $6 billion in funding for a broad range of transportation improvements, through a 30-year, half-cent sales tax.
In our recently passed Senate Resolution, authored by Jack Herstam, Lidia Diaz-Fong and Gemi Griffin, we state: “We, the Associated Student Government of Santa Clara University, endorse the Santa Clara County Measure B because of its positive environmental impact, increased access to the Bay Area, and overall effectiveness of empowering the student body of Santa Clara University.”
The reason is clear: The issue affects us whether we are just here temporarily as students or plan to live and work in the Silicon Valley after graduation.
That’s why we, the Associated Student Government of Santa Clara University, are taking the unprecedented step of openly supporting local legislation: Measure B, which has been thoughtfully crafted to provide meaningful countywide congestion relief.
Transportation Barriers Reduce Quality of Life
Every Santa Clara student uses some form of the local transportation infrastructure within Santa Clara County to get on and off campus. We currently have an incomplete transit system—BART tracks don’t extend past the city of Millbrae. The Bay Area’s 70 year-long dream of interconnectedness has yet to come to fruition. Completing the BART loop would connect every urban center, unleashing the economic potential of the Bay Area.
Measure B would provide the much-needed funding to extend BART to Santa Clara, right across the street from campus. The initiative would also connect BART with the Caltrain Commuter Rail Service, providing easy and effective access to the entire Bay Area.
In addition, adding the BART extension will allow 90,000 additional daily riders to enjoy the benefits of rapid rail, greatly reducing the number of people who drive on our roads.
Measure B Supports Our Core Values
Measure B also reinforces the university’s commitment to fostering a more just and sustain- able world. In our resolution, we state that we believe Measure B “aligns strongly with the core values of (Santa Clara) and furthers our commitment to environmental responsibility.”
Extending BART to the South Bay will result in a yearly reduction of 32 million pounds of greenhouse gases—the statistical equivalent of the emissions created by 3,066 cars in a given year.
Measure B also builds on the upcoming electrification of Caltrain, contributes to safer passage for pedestrians and cyclists, and provides increased transit options for seniors, as well as for the low-income and disabled in our community.
Measure B improves our quality of life, allows students to easily reach destination via public transit and aligns strongly with Santa Clara’s core values.
Our Advocacy Efforts
For all of the reasons articulated above, we have decided to actively advocate in favor of this transportation initiative.
We were honored that the Santa Clara City Council requested that we speak at their public session where they contemplated their own endorsement of Measure B, and actually read our Senate resolution before they voted on their own. The city’s resolution passed unanimously after extensive discussion with ASG.
At our City Council Candidate debate, we invited Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino to deliver context on Measure B, prior to our question on the topic for the twelve participants.
The range of views expressed by the participants gave students a clearer picture of where each candidate stands on the issue.
Additionally, we hosted an ice cream social with special guests City of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, and City of Santa Clara Vice Mayor Teresa O’Neill, who spoke to our students about civic engagement and the positive role that the implementation of Measure B will play in student life here at SCU.
That’s why we urge you to join us in voting yes on Measure B. To find out more, visit YesMeasureB.com.
Lidia Diaz-Fong is the student body president and Neil Datar is the ASG senate chair.