Pacheco Y traffic plan mothballed

.The latest delay in fixing the Pacheco Y, the dangerous, chronic bottleneck where Highways 152 and 156 intersect in south Santa Clara County is being blamed on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget plan.

And it’s true, Schwarzenegger has proposed raiding a fund that was to pay for transportation projects like the flyover proposed for the Pacheco Y, but we don’t think that’s the only problem.

A big part of the problem is the Valley Transportation Authority. The VTA, if it would finally give up its boondoggle pipe dream of bringing BART to San Jose, could afford to fund this project and many others.

An added bonus is that building these projects won’t bankrupt the agency like BART-to-San Jose will, nor will operating them require massive subsidies that will, again, bankrupt the VTA.º

Fixing the Pacheco Y, scene of numerous bloody accidents over the years, is a safety issue. It’s also an environmental issue. Think of the amount of air pollution thousands of idling cars pump into the air while stuck in the Pacheco Y’s frequent 13-mile backups.

But with the current arrangement of the VTA board of directors, with San Jose yielding an unfair amount of influence and South County’s interests currently being handled by representatives from Milpitas, it’s not unusual for South Valley’s projects to get short shrift.

Fixing the Pacheco Y is a promise of Measure B, the half-cent sales tax Santa Clara County voters approved to ease traffic congestion troubles in the county.

We call upon South Valley’s many state and federal representatives, and Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage to call in some favors to restore funding for this much-needed, often-delayed project. Let’s keep this promise that South County citizens taxed themselves to achieve. Perhaps Gage could host a long, slow, frustrating ride through the bottleneck on a getaway Friday to convince our representatives of the urgency of the matter.

And let’s not forget that the root of the problem is the unfair representation of our communities on the VTA board of directors. Until that is fixed, boondoggles like BART will move forward while bottlenecks like the Pacheco Y will be ignored.

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