Needed: Directly-Elected VTA Board Members

Inside the Santa Clara County Supervisors' chambers.

Inside the Santa Clara County Supervisors’ chambers where VTA Board Of Directors’ meetings are held.

Tired of reading story after story on how VTA wastes your money and is mismanaged?  Tired of being forced to drive in traffic gridlock because of VTA’s service cuts over the years, rooted in their mismanagement? Now is your best chance to help change it all for the better.  The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) wants your input on how it seeks to be governed in the future.

VTA created a survey to take your input, which includes several questions.  They are also taking your phone calls at (408)952-4200 to take in your input, until December 6.  A public meeting will be held December 20 to further discuss restructuring; details will be posted when information is available.

Recall back in June on how the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury trashed VTA’s poor governance in their 61-page report.  A story from the Mountain View Voice on the Grand Jury report sums up one key recommendation:

The grand jury report lays much of the responsibility for this dysfunction on the VTA Board of Directors. The 12-member governing board consists entirely of political appointees who must be currently serving as city council members or on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Often, board members face a steep learning curve, and it doesn’t help that they often lack any experience in transportation, finance or management of an agency of this size, the report says.

Having a directly-elected VTA Board of Directors is something our group has been fighting for since 2003. Back then, we were known as the Santa Clara VTA Riders Union (SCVTARU). A story in the November 12 edition of the Silicon Valley Business Journal gives some examples of how other transit agencies throughout the nation are governed.

In that online survey and at (408)952-4200, make sure you ask VTA to have a directly-elected Board of Directors.  You can do that on Question #6 in the survey.  In Question #7, make sure to ask for public transit service throughout Santa Clara County, not just for downtown and East San Jose.

It is past time to bring much-needed accountability to public transit in Santa Clara County.  Part of a better nation, as Internet essayist Jim Wright would remind us, starts when you elect a better government.  Let’s start fighting for some of that better government for public transit today.  Getting that better government starts when YOU take that survey and make that phone call.

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users

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