Over the past few weeks, our eyes have been trained on East Side Trains. These are Light Rail Trains that will connect East San Jose to the current 42-mile Light Rail Transit system, as well as the future BART extension for regional rail connections.
Three main thoughts, which I shared publicly on Thursday evening, May 2, at a hearing of the Valley Transportation Agency.
First, thanks to VTA Chair Teresa O’Neill and Mayor Sam Liccardo for their memo about the long-term success of our 42-mile Light Rail Transit system. Its fare recovery rate, ridership numbers, and service are legitimate concerns, which warrant a deeper community conversation.
Second, as CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, I had the honor and responsibility of leading the 2000 and 2016 Countywide transportation funding campaigns that provide the local funds for the 2.4-mile East Side Light Rail extension; and also had the pleasure to co-lead the 2018 “Regional Measure 3” campaign, which provides important regional funds for the extension. Please let me be clear, as we have placed our wallets where our words are to fund this important connection, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is 100 percent committed to the East Side extension.
Third, as I spoke before a roomful of people who care deeply about the East Side LRT extension, it was, and is, important to thank and recognize San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo for his leadership in all three of these transportation funding campaigns that make the East Side Extension possible:
- As “private citizen,” Sam Liccardo walked into our campaign office in July of 2000 to volunteer his time – 80 hours a week – to co-lead the effort.
- In 2016, Mayor Liccardo personally raised nearly $900,000 of the $2 million “Measure B” campaign
- In 2018, Mayor Liccardo personally raised nearly $300,000 for the Regional Measure 3 campaign. His commitment to the East Side Light Rail extension is beyond question.
A final thought as the VTA Board moves forward. We are on-track. We are on-board. It’s time to build.
– Carl Guardino, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group | May 7, 2019