Live Council Blog

7:42 The publicity guy for the Express Lane project just stopped by my table. He said their studies show that people who are late – often mothers picking up their kids – are the ones most likely to use it. I figured it would be rich people and people with bad credit, who act like they’re rich. I also complained to him about HOV lanes. I got a ticket a few years ago for driving in the HOV lane. It cost me my entire Argus NCAA Basketball Pool winnings.

7:27 p.m. Anu Natarajan is asking questions:

She asks about where the money goes. Unclear answer

Now it’s Bill Harrison

He’s talking about some Torrico bill and talk about the Express Lanes also being used on weekends.  Harrison says it’s exciting. All for council members in attendance have Fastrak. Wieckowski is out. I hear he had a death in the family.

Wasserman likes it too. California is sometimes so strange to me. People go crazy about raising property taxes, but everyone seems to think its great to charge $9.75 to drive on the freeway. In New York we have super high property taxes and toll roads, but at least the schools have art and music classes and class sizes are under 35. This crummy weather must be making me nostolgic.

Anyway, the meeting is adjourned. I’m going to look at old Don Mattingly videos on YouTube.

7:25: It’s Question/Sue Chan time.  First question: this there a camera? Yes, for enforcement.

What’s the range? It’s a big mystery. It hasn’t been set. It could be as low as zero when there’s no demand. In SoCal it’s been as high as $9.75. I’d rather be late.

What about hybrids? The state decides if solo drivers in hybrids can use the express lane for free.


7:22 p.m. Looks like this Express Lane/Toll Lane are already established in So Cal and Minnesota. Caltrans is showing a video extoling the project.  Basically if you’re a solo driver with Fastrak, you can enter the Express/Toll Lane for a fee (the video said $4) and glide on through Fremont.

7:15 p.m.  This is going to be a super quick meeting. Only thing left on agenda is a report on the planned I-680 Express Lane, or the I-680 Toll Lane. I’m interested to hear the report. I know that this is getting promoted as pro-environment because fewer cars might be idling, but the idea that rich folks can pay to avoid traffic feels a little strange.

John Dutra told me a year or so ago that he had a lot to do with the legislation that is bringing us the Express Lane. I didn’t say anything, but I was thinking that he shouldn’t be able to avoid the traffic I’m in just because he can afford the toll. But maybe it’s a good idea.

It’s Council prolocamation time.

The council is honoring the winning team of The Bike To Work Challenge. Three of the winning cyclists are from Fremont. They and they’re families comprised about half the people in the council chamber. It’s almost empty now. Marshak of the Tri-City Voice is here.

I actually saw him and his wife last week at Argus headquarters. We’re taking up less space these days, and he’s looking for more elbow room, so we might actually occupy the same office. It’s hard to imagine the TCB and TCV under the same roof, but I already have to sit in between a Red Sox fan and a Boys to Men fan, so things really can’t get much worse.

Matt Artz