How MTC sneaked Vehicle Miles Traveled tax into One Bay Area Plan

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The Con­tra Cos­ta Times edi­to­r­i­al of July 18 “Car tax idea is out of the box: Put it back!” expressed shock and out­rage about “… the cre­ative audac­i­ty of Bay Area lead­ers propos­ing a per-mile tax on dri­ving, maybe as ear­ly as next year, using — wait for it — a GPS-like tracker!”

But what is even more out­ra­geous is the sto­ry of how the pro­pos­al was slipped into the scop­ing doc­u­ments at the last minute. Here’s how MTC sneaked the Vehi­cle Miles trav­eled Tax (VMT) into the One Bay Area Plan with­out any pub­lic dis­cus­sion or hear­ings on the topic.

The One Bay Area Plan ( is a 25 year plan designed to com­ply with SB375 Dra­co­nion require­ments to reduce Cal­i­for­nia Green House Gas (GHG) emis­sions. In order to accom­plish this feat, civ­il lib­er­ties will be sur­rep­ti­tious­ly weak­ened while future lifestyle choic­es will be increas­ing­ly lim­it­ed to “stack and pack hous­ing” on top of retail space near mass tran­sit hubs.

The orga­ni­za­tions push­ing this agen­da are so-called “social equi­ty” groups, specif­i­cal­ly Trans­form CA and Urban Habi­tat. Under the Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties Strat­e­gy, gov­ern­ments are required to sup­port the three Es, Econ­o­my, Envi­ron­ment, and Equi­ty. There are many non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing Trans­form and Urban Habi­tat, who work hand and glove with MTC, and orga­ni­za­tions like ICLEI in Con­tra Cos­ta, to insure the “175% income redis­tri­b­u­tion.” These stake­hold­er groups are the push­ing for equi­ty and MTC is only too hap­py to com­ply since it builds their base of entrenched interests.

So here is what is real­ly hap­pen­ing. The One Bay Area Plan requires an Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Report (EIR) and part of that process requires pub­lic input for its scop­ing process, the first step before draft­ing the report.

MTC held pub­lic “vision­ing ses­sions” from June 20, 2012 through June 27, 2012 to get guid­ed pub­lic “input” culled from a care­ful­ly craft­ed and slant­ed process designed to reach only one con­clu­sion. MTC took com­ments from the pub­lic regard­ing input to the One Bay Area EIR scop­ing strat­e­gy. At the time, the pub­lic was pre­sent­ed with a set of options to consider.

The Vehi­cle Miles Trav­eled Tax (VMT) was nev­er men­tioned as part of those discussions.

That set of options can be found here on pages 32 and 33. In fact, on slide 32, Alter­na­tive 5 sim­ply dis­cuss­es tran­sit lev­el ser­vice and HOV lanes.

After all pub­lic com­ments were received, MTC added the issue of the VMT. On July 13, after pub­lic com­ments were closed, MTC briefed the Board regard­ing alter­na­tive 5 which now includ­ed a dis­cus­sion of VMT on slide 12.

What hap­pened between the time of pub­lic input and the time of pre­sen­ta­tion to the Board for a vote was that cer­tain favored stake­hold­er groups, specif­i­cal­ly Trans­form, Pub­lic Advo­cates, and Urban Habi­tat, sub­mit­ted this pro­pos­al (see page 15 *) that includes:

1. Upzon­ing would be expand­ed to more areas in the Bay. This would mean even more require­ments for high den­si­ty hous­ing in cities that do not have their ‘fair share’ of low income people.

2. Devel­op­ment fees would be elim­i­nat­ed for afford­able hous­ing devel­op­ments, while sub­si­dies would be used for favored activities.

3. Com­mu­ni­ties of Con­cern (read low income and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or) would receive funds from these wind­fall prof­its that the region would receive

4. Road pric­ing (TOLLS) would be imple­ment­ed to reduce dri­ving, although the pro­posed VMT tax will EXEMPT ALL LOW-INCOME DRIVERS!

The VMT is designed to give favored sta­tus to cer­tain groups. These groups rep­re­sent orga­ni­za­tions that want to trans­fer wealth through the heavy hand of region­al gov­ern­ment inter­fer­ing in the hous­ing, trans­porta­tion and land use mar­ket place.

After all pub­lic com­ments were received the MTC and ABAG added the issue of the VMT! On July 19, MTC and ABAG held a spe­cial meet­ing to vote on mov­ing the EIR scop­ing to the next lev­el (see page 15).

The let­ter was dat­ed July 9, but pub­lic input was not closed until July 11 and did not include men­tion of a peti­tion that over 1,000 peo­ple signed to delay the scop­ing by 6–12 months.

Between the vision­ing meet­ings and the spe­cial hear­ing, MTC insert­ed the VMT tax option with­out any pub­lic dis­cus­sion on that par­tic­u­lar issue. Basi­cal­ly, they passed the issue by hid­ing it inside of the over­all One Bay Area Plan EIR scop­ing vote after the fact.

All the mon­ey gar­nered from the VMT will go direct­ly to MTC and their crony social­ists to redis­trib­ute more and more wealth to the tak­ing class. It sets towns and cities up for law­suits to enforce the require­ments that all areas must have a ‘fair’ dis­tri­b­u­tion of all income levels.

If you don’t think that One Bay Area Plan will have any impact on your life and wealth, think again. One Bay Area con­tains eight key “pol­i­cy levers” that are designed to manip­u­late your behav­ior. They will herd you in to high den­si­ty hous­ing near mass tran­sit. They hope to tax or toll you out of your car. MTC also has Pol­i­cy Tool­box with incen­tives and dis­in­cen­tive to enforce com­pli­ance. It should be called the “Tool­box of Tyran­ny.”

Clear­ly MTC and ABAG are unelect­ed and unac­count­able bureau­crats who are out of con­trol and con­trolled by spe­cial inter­est agen­das. It is crit­i­cal that vot­ers get edu­cat­ed on the One Bay Area Plan and edu­cate their local city offi­cials to object to the One Bay Area Plan.

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