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Cart before the horse? Federal fundraising for Menlo Park transportation

From: domainremoved <Adina>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2017 10:06:14 -0800

Honorable Council Members,

Tuesday's agenda includes an item to hire a federal lobbyist to pursue
funding for transportation projects.

It is disturbing that the individual being considered led the Citizens'
United campaign to allow unlimited interest group spending on political

But regardless of the individual and firm, it is disturbing that hiring a
federal lobbyist to get funding for transportation projects in Menlo Park
is putting the cart before the horse.

Menlo Park has major transportation needs, and there is a recent study
considering options for the Dumbarton Corridor. However, Menlo Park isn't
the lead agency for any of the transit or highway projects proposed for the
Dumbarton corridor. All of the projects cross multiple jurisdictions.

Even if we could independently get funding to freeway-ize highway 84 - is
Caltrans going to let us change the highway without an agreed project? Is
East Palo Alto going to let us grade separate University without an agreed
project? Are Newark and Union City going to allow train stations in their
cities without an agreed project?

By contrast, the West Santa Clara Valley cities got together, agreed on the
need for Highway 85 transit solutions, and lobbied successfully to get
funding allocation in Measure B, even though the project was not yet
mature. Mountain View or Cupertino did not attempt to "go it alone."

Before we lobby the federal government, we should create a high-level
shared picture of what we want in partnership with other jurisdictions that
share the corridor.

It does seem to be possible to get federal funding these days without
vetting, but such deals seem risky, see:

Thank you for your consideration,

- Adina
Adina Levin
Received on Mon Nov 06 2017 - 10:11:10 PST

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