No doubt, one of the major concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area is traffic congestion. This ‘Quality of Life’ issue remains very important to employees, employers, commuters and residents as our population continues to grow and the high-tech economy paces it. As the saying goes: “If there was an easy fix, it would have been done already.” But, what are some ongoing efforts to make getting to work and home better?

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) was created in 1995 to bring a more comprehensive approach to this complex problem in Santa Clara County. Besides local transit services (bus, light rail and paratransit), the VTA also has countywide responsibilities for:

  • Monitoring and mitigating highway and street traffic congestion
  • Helping mitigate congestion from new building developments
  • Bicycle and pedestrian facilities planning, coordination and funding
  • Planning and financing major transportation infrastructure improvements
  • Interregional partner services including Caltrain, Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), Capitol Corridor, Highway 17 Express, Monterey-Salinas Transit connection, and Dumbarton Express Bus Service
  • Supervising construction of certain traffic relief projects like interchanges, express & carpool lanes, and rail extensions.

Management and implementation of voter-approved local sales tax programs, including the 2000 Measure A Transit Improvement Program and the 2016 Measure B (multimodal and multijurisdictional) Program. VTA relies on various advisory committees, primarily comprised of appointed members that are primarily volunteers, to advise the VTA Board of Directors and administration. One key advisory group is the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). This 17-member committee represents residents and community stakeholder groups with a strong interest in local transportation. Its membership is comprised of a broad spectrum of stakeholder groups, including: senior citizens; disabled persons; bicyclists; pedestrians; construction; rural transportation; environmental concerns; organized labor; commercial buildings; city groups; and transit commuters.

CAC members are public-spirited volunteers who meet monthly to examine in detail and provide input and perspective on transportation policies, services, and projects and to provide resulting recommendation to the VTA Board. One former VTA General Manager indicated that the CAC was his favorite committee due to the wide breadth and depth of feedback received and that the committee had the interest of the whole community at heart.
ALTRANS, specifically CEO and Founder Stephen Blaylock, has been representing the interests of multimodal transit commuters and community members on the CAC for over 15 years.

The CAC reviews, discusses and provides recommendations to the Board on a wide spectrum of topics, including:

  • VTA countywide transportation plan
  • Transit project priorities
  • Major new developments projects proposed or in process
  • BART Silicon Valley Program and projects
  • Transit fares and accessibility
  • New transit service model pilot programs
  • Transportation legislation activity overview

VTA’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee also has another unique role and responsibility: Serving as the official taxpayer ‘watchdog’ entity overseeing 2000 Measure A, the 30-year, voter-approved half-cent sales tax spent on county transportation projects. With assistance from professional auditors, the Citizens Watchdog Committee (CWC) monitors project and program expenses and construction progress, holds public meetings, and publishes the results annually to keep county residents well-informed on how Measure A funds are being spent.
All CAC/CWC meetings are open to the public and public participation is always welcomed. Monthly meetings are typically held on the second Wednesday of every month at 4:00 pm at VTA headquarters, Building B – 3331, N. First St, San Jose, 95134.

Learn more about the VTA Citizen’s Advisory Committee at: