I’m glad that Mike Arnold alerted Patch readers to this evening’s meeting of the Transportation Authority of Marin even if he continues to use his blustery way and inaccurate scare tactics to incite folks to come out. Local government benefits from public involvement, even if we have to take time to clean up the misinformation before digging in.
Let me start by correcting Mr. Arnold’s assertion that decisions are being made out of public view. Tonight TAM will hold its second public meeting to discuss SMART’s identified funding shortfall. The same issue was also discussed in public at last month’s TAM meeting, during which Mr. Arnold was given time to offer up his predictable bombastic comments, just as he has done in the Patch today. He also spewed the same inaccuracies in Marin’s daily paper this week, forcing a correction from TAM’s executive director that was printed the next day.
Tonight, TAM will discuss the amount of funds being sought to help SMART get started. We will present how it can be done without siphoning a single dollar from currently programmed projects in Marin. We will also discuss other conditions that TAM should impose if we do choose to share any funds with SMART. We will take no action tonight.
There will be another public meeting at TAM’s offices on June 13 allowing the discussion to continue. Then, following the fourth public discussion over a two-month period, TAM’s board will consider taking action on June 23.
Beyond process, the reality is that Mr. Arnold has never wanted to accept that voters in both counties supported SMART by significant majorities and now all transportation agencies have a part to play in delivering a functional transit system. No one wants to pay more for less, yet most public works projects — from town halls to highways to health centers and, yes, rail programs — do experience cost increases in the course of their implementation.
TAM will not ignore that duty, but we will also not act in ways that prevent the public’s involvement.