- I Participate in board meetings of the Paso Robles Housing Authority and of Main Street as your City Council liaison.
- I prepare thoroughly, with cross checking, for all items on our City Council agendas and am a leader in the meetings.
- I directly participate in acquiring the funding for our transportation infrastructure and our water and waste water infrstructure.
- I am a leader in defending local control of transportation and land use decisions at the regional and state levels of government.
- I have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars by initiating a change to our construction contracts.
- I have supported adequate salaries to attract the best people for our administration and saved millions of dollars in General Fund payouts for "matching funds" in the process.
- I represent Paso Robles at SLOCOG to get regional support and money for local transportation projects
- I represent our region at the State and National level to bring already paid and allocated tax money back to the local area for our benefit
- Through the pre-requisit of holding my local government office:, I represent San Luis Obispo County at the State and National level on transportation, economic development, and the environment.
- Through meeting the above and election by local elect officials from throughout the United States at both city and county levels, I represent the entire nation in Washington, DC, on issues of transportation, economic development, environment and public safety.
- I have been a state and national leader, through these positions, on crude oil by rail safety, infrastructure funding and retaining local control of project decisions.
- The City of Paso Robles is a member of the League of California Cities. I have been the city's official voting delegate to the League's annual convention for 10 of my 12 years in office, including this year.
- At the League I serve on two policy committees: Revenue & Taxation and Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED). I have been chairman of both committees within the past four years. These committees develop official positions protecting local interests and the health, safety an general welfare of our citizens at the State level. [You can find out more on The League at www.cacities.com)
- I have been directly involved in solving water problems in California by creating new opportunities for infrastructure and storage.
- I have been active on State legislation to protect our health and safety as well as protect our local control and local revenues.
- Prior to public office I taught the statewide course for public officials on land use rules and regulations. I also wrote a Planning Commission manual for some jurisictions, including The City of San Luis Obispo.
As the former editor of your local newspapers, other newsprint publications in our area, The Bay Area and the Mid-West I tend to author things in the third person with a narative style. I believe it is more pleasant and respectful than bullet points and always saying me, myself and I.
Therefore, as background:
Fred has responsibilities given him by our City Council to represent our city at the San Luis Obispo Council Of Governments (SLOCOG). SLOCOG is made up of one representative from each city and the entire Board of Supervisors with a non-voting representative from CalTrans.
SLOCOG also has relationships and memberships in other regional, statewide and national organizations such as LOSSAN, CALCOG and NARC. Fred has been chosen unanimously by the SLOCOG Board to represent our region at ALL of these. He is highly respected by local elected officials across the political spectrum. Membership in SLOCOG automatically includes the same membership in SLORTA (San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority). However, since 2014, Fred's alternate (Mayor Steve Martin) has wanted to act in his stead on SLORTA and Fred has permitted this at most meetings of SLORTA. Fred believes in cooperation with others.
LOSSAN (Los Angeles/San Diego/San Luis Obispo Rail Authority) is the locally controlled managing agency of the Pacific Surfliner Intercity Passenger Rail service from San Diego to San Luis Obispo with planned service extensions to San Jose, pending approval through the State Legislature and the State Rail Plan.
CALCOG (California Councils Of Governments, an association) is an association of regional planning and transportation agencies throughout the State of California, based in Sacramento, for purposes of cooperation, education, research and legislative monitoring and comment.
NARC (National Association of Regional Councils) is a national organization based in Washington, DC, for similar purposes to CALCOG at the national level with a legislative advocacy arm. It is moving its HQ into a joint tenancy with the National League of Cities (NLC) and National Association of Counties (NACO). It is one of the most influential organizations at national government concerning "local" issues because it has two boards of directors: one of local electeds only and one of regional CEOs only.
League of California Cities (The League) is an association of the 480+ cities in California for similar purposes to CALCOG for cities. The League is considered one of the most influential organizations in Sacramento on legislation and regulations regarding local government issues. It sponsored the Constitutional Amenment that now prevents The State from taking city funds without due process.
Fred's personal involvement:
Fred represents you and, at times, a broader constituency at all of these organizations through his being on the Paso Robles City Council and being subsequently elected or appointed by higher government bodies.
Fred has perfect attendance records at all of these organizations (except when two or more meetings were conflicting - which was less than six times in 10+ years). His combined duties representing you have taken an average of 200 hours a month over the past decade+. He has championed local control of governance and protection of citizen involvement and transparency of government actions throughout his public career(s). Prior to activity within these organizations Fred was the Legislative Advocate for the California Homeowners Association in Sacramento and the combined Concerned Citizens of California regional organizations in Washington, DC. He has been the "outsider" elected by the people to sit inside government as the public's watchdog. He has carried that over consistently into these organizations.
Fred has represented Paso Robles ever since former Mayor Mecham surrendered the position in mid-2006. A few years later he was appointed the alternate delegate to LOSSAN where he became the most regularly attending representative of SLOCOG and was appointed to some of LOSSAN's sub-committees as the only alternate to ever be given that honor. He became SLOCOG's delegate in 2008 and has held that position since.
Fred was elected Vice-President of SLOCOG in 2011 and President in 2012. He served on the Executive Committee from 2011 through 2013.
He was unanimously elected to represent SLOCOG at CALCOG and also became its representative to NARC in 2012.
Fred worked diligently during his eight years of regular attendance, and chairmanship to see that Paso Robles had good regional connections and efficient, cost effective local public transit throughout his term of service. He has overseen the transition of local bus service from city operation to regional operation at large savings for the city's budget during his term of office.
Fred was elected to the Vice-presidency and Presidency concurrently with his elections for SLOCOG.
Fred began his service on LOSSAN as the alternate delegate in 2010 and became the delegate in 2011.
He was elected vice-chairman of the board in 2013 and ascended to the presidency in March of that year when the previous president lost his seat on the board. He was re-elected in 2014 and led the organization through its State requirements to become an indepenent managing agency of the Pacific Surfliner. He surrendered the presidency in 2015 and has been on the Board and Executive Committee ever since. During his presidency he chaired all of the meetings of the presidential council of all of the passenger railroad agencies of California. He has represented LOSSAN in Sacramento numerous times over the past eight years and testified at hearings on legislative activities involving rail.
Fred has been the only President/Chairman of the Board from outside of the Los Angeles/Orange County/San Diego area in the history of the agency. He has championed the cause of two additional train stops in Paso Robles daily and has mothered it into the long range plan of the agency. He watchdogs our interests and those of all travelers on the corridor on a regular basis.
Fred became our delegate to CALCOG in 2012. He was quickly elected to the Board of Directors and, a year later, to the Executive Committee representing all of the "small" regions of the state.
Fred contributes to the educational conferences as both participant and panelist. Fred has worked with the CEO of CALCOG since he was hired and even before that as his staff person at The League for his Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee. Fred attends special meetings to educate our State Legislators on the interests and needs of local regions.
He was instrumental in getting CALCOG to become a member of NARC in 2014. Through his efforts CALCOG will be hosting the Annual Conference of NARC on the Central Coast in 2017.
At the Board meeting in South Bend, IN, on September 21, 2016, he introduce a proposal for further study and action to eliminate all fuel, sales and weight taxes or fees on vehicles in favor of a single fair highway, street and road fee based upon the actual use of these public roads by vehicles according to their weight and actual pavement use. Refinements include privacy protection, weight calculations and apportionment of fees to appropriate jurisictions electronically so that all roads get fair and equitable funding for repair and maintenance based upon actual use.
At the June annual convention he was re-elected to a third two year term on the Board of Directors which ends in June 2018.
Fred was appointed the first representative of SLOCOG at NARC in Mid-2012. He has represented SLOCOG ever since.
His first meeting was unique as he became instantly recognized as a leader and appropriate representative of our regions nationally. On the third day of the Annual meeting in St. Petersburg, FL, he was nominated by Massachusetts, seconded by California and unanimously elected to represent the collective regions of the United States on the Board of Directors for 2012 - 2014. In 2014 he was nominated by Indiana/Michigan and Wisconsin, seconded by Texas and unanimously re-elected for 2014-2016. In 2016 he was nominated by California, seconded by Florida and unanimously re-elected for 2016-2018. Following his first election to the Board, the president appointed him as Transportation Committee Policy Chairman. He has been re-appointed by every president since then and is serving his fifth term representing the regions of the United States with the Federal Government in all areas of transportation. At every national conference in 2013 - 2016 Fred has chaired at least one national meeting on transportation with guest speakers including members of the President's Cabinet and Under Secretaries or department heads of the United States' DOT. Expert panels have frequently included Fred as a panelist at the national level as well as at statewide California conferences on rail issues in Sacramento and/or Los Angeles (related also to LOSSAN).
Fred became actively involved with the Secretary of Transportation and the Departtment of Transportation (DOT) and sub-departments such as the Federal Rail Authoprity (FRA) in securing approval for maintenance, repair and congestion relief for our highways, rail and sea ports. His efforts at funding have been held hostage by a polarized Congress. However, in 2016 he was a leader in getting the first 5-year transportation re-authorization in over a decade passed through a bi-partisan effort. Fred has become a welcomed consultant, as a local elected official, for the staff of the House and Senate committees on transportation generally and specifically on rail and port development.
Fred worked directly with the person in charge at the FRA and at the White House in getting more stringent regulations regarding the transportation of volatile crude oil by rail issued in 2015. Those regulations, however, will take up to five years before they are fully implemented due to maufacturing capacity and technological factors that must be worked out prior to full implementation. Meanwhile, all of them are being implemented on a priority basis as their precedent actions are completed.
He is fortunate that he is a "player" in getting some of these things done on the passenger train side through his positions on LOSSAN.
Fred is staying in close touch with these officials and monitoring progress, as long as he retains his current positions.
Position: Economic Development
We must create new opportunities for neighborhood shopping, research facilities, industrial establishments and personal services as well as areas for leisure, recreation and socializing in all areas of the City. City government does not create most of this on its own. We merely enable it to happen. We do entertain and, when it makes good sense, use public/private partnerships to achieve some of those things that taxes alone cannot support nor sustain.
Position: Housing and Developments
A portion of the jobs created by any enterprise are less than high income. Those workers and their families still need to live, work and play in our community. We must enable opportunities to do so in a fiscally responsible manner.
In new neighborhoods, we must create areas of high density on a Paso Robles’ scale not a Los Angles or New York high density scale. Those areas must be created near collector travel ways in order to offer public transit options that are sustainable, frequent, convenient and inexpensive. Successful neighborhood shopping and services depend upon a large enough population base to make good economic sense.
The Bigger Picture!
Government should only do those things for the people collectively that they can’t do for themselves individually, such as provide the infrastructure to integrate local and regional basic resources and transportation systems. This can only be done within the means provided by ourselves to achieve it.
In recent years we have made provision to store and transport sufficient water for our city for today and tomorrow. We are in process of making it safe and readily available for daily living and economic development. We already have in place the process for new commercial, industrial, service and housing growth to pay its own way in this regard. The resources and infrastructure for the next few decades are already there. We have planned ahead responsibly.
In our region we must all rely heavily upon natural rainfall to replenish our aquifer and its sub-areas. However, we must also do those things we can to assure that we have secured sufficient storage to capture the amount of water needed for our way of life. In that regard I am calling for the completion of the Monterey County Long Range Water Plan that would provide a means to store excess water, during flood stage times, from Lake Nacimiento in Lake San Antonio with a reasonable percentage if that saving being allocated to San Luis Obispo County, which is the source of the additional water.
I am currently also working on a means to implement additional water saving statewide, for our local benefit as well, by reducing the evaporation of water from open water transport canals by placing a cover above them at no direct expense to the government or the taxpayers by using them to generate additional, low cost energy. I have officially communicated this proposal to the State of California and am following up on that proposal. However, the Water Resources Board members to whom I've spoken consider this an impractical effort due to location of support facilities.
Another approach I'm advocating which is getting some traction is to provide some water bond money to dredge siltation out of existing reservoirs to increase storage capacity at the lowest possible cost. The primary objection to this comes from those who believe that we might damage a biological environment that we created with the original establishment of the reservoirs. I believe that human needs satisfied by our own creation should be exempt from that consideration.
Some members of the State Water Resources Board see merit in this proposal.
We have integrated the means to reduce our dependence upon outside sources for energy in all new projects during my term of office. We are in process of determining how, where and when to implement co-generation of power and energy at our water/wastewater and landfill operations. The water conservation program not only saves water but also reduces energy use and cost at our water facilities. I am also working at the national level, through my position on the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), to expand our energy capture and attain complete, low cost, energy independence from foreign energy sources. (see below)
As a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of regional Councils (NARC), made possible by my position on your City Council, I am supporting and advocating the safe extraction of our own native energy resources and advocating additional research in methods of shale extraction to minimize any risks to our nation’s water systems. We know that trillions of cubic feet of natural gas are trapped beneath most areas of our continent that are safely and inexpensively available through careful extraction methods. The National Association of Manufacturers has already determined that the availability of this resource at a reasonable profit to the producer should, once again, make us competitive with every other nation on earth in the production of goods. This can restore our balance of trade and create millions of jobs in the total cycle. Another benefit is that natural gas is a cleaner and safer alternative for our air and natural environment. The same companies that provide petroleum based energy have the resources to shift our energy portfolio to include a greater percentage of natural gas. Therefore, there should be no significant economic displacement involved in this paradigm shift.
I am also looking into proposals from engineers and researchers in the alternative fuel areas to convert present day diesel engines to natural gas for trucks, buses and trains provided that there is no significnt, or impairing, loss of power resulting from the conversion. I am encouraging new research for the creation of natural gas engines, possibly combined with electric generation, to power our transportation systems.
To that end I am working personally with some specific people and also researching current efforts to improve electric wave generation that integrates solar energy into the grid without wave disruption. One system being looked into claims to be able to expand electric capacity by upwards of 30% without expanding our present power infrastructure. I'm told that it has already been made the standard for the State of Hawaii.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER
All aspects of life, including government, must work together in a reasonable way. Job creation takes place in producing the infrastructure which makes possible additional job creation to meet people’s needs and demand for goods and services. Transportation of both freight and people is a key element in that process.
Extraction of raw materials and production of goods is useless without a means to get those things from their source location to where they can be used in daily life. In this regard we are members of a community, region, state, nation and world. All of these must be part of the equation. Our total transportation system is an integral part of daily life. Please see “Roads and Transportation” for more of the big picture.
Transportation and Road Maintenance
Position: Transportation Repair, Maintenance and Improvements
Traffic congestion must be reduced through better neighborhood design including more alternatives for getting places by motor vehicle, bicycle and walking. Present arterial and highway connections must be improved and made more efficient. We are currently working toward achieving that. It is a work in progress that will take years of diligent effort as our economy allows the necessary Federal, State and local funding to increase.
I've already introduced at the national level a new method of funding road repairs and maintenance that would reduce fuel costs and eliminate some other fees currently being charged. I believe it to be the fairest method consiered to date to pay for these things at the national, state and local level.
Position: Street Maintenance Funding (T)
You, our voters, saw fit to pass a ½ cent sales tax increase which is providing more than $3 million a year which we are spending, on streets and roads. Through appropriate scheduling of repairs and replacement, this City Council is doing all that it can to prevent the failure of our transportation infrastructure.
I am, personally, seeking to bring back home more of our State and Federal transportation money to achieve this purpose. That money is dedicated by law to specific areas so I am working currently on getting somewhat more than $250 million in State/Federal money for the continued improvement of Highway 46 East out past the "Y". I succeeded in getting $350 million a few years ago for the segment to and through the "Y" from the California Transportation Commission (CTC). I've also succeeded in seeing that MAP-21 at the Federal level retains dedicated money for all regions of the United States and does not limit it to those with 250,000 population and above. I'm continuing to work for additional funding and long term certainty of those funds.
Over the past nine years I've already managed to acquire, with the help of others (no one does anything alone), nearly $2 billion in highway and road improvement money for our local region (in and within 15 miles of the city).
Methods of funding our transportation infrastructure ourselves:
Gas Excise Tax
Vehicle Registration Fees
Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax
Everything costs something. People who work planning, engineering and building or repairing our infrastructure expect to be paid a reasonable wage. Materials used have a cost. We must have enough money to pay those bills or we cannot have the good roads, bridges and highways that would have been provided.
I am supporting the countywide half cent sales tax increase for transportation in November because it is the closest we can come to fair payment of our local transportation infrastructure available to us at this time. Pointing our fingers at someone else and saying they should pay for our transportation infrastructure won’t get any of it built. If we don’t charge our visitor/tourists for their costs to our infrastructure we will have to pay for their costs out of our own pocket. To me, THAT is UNFAIR!
The real question is and always has been: How do we make the tax or fee fair?
Gas Excise Tax:
This currently exists with local government getting one cent of every dollar paid by those who buy gas (fuel). It is very inadequate and does not differentiate between regular, hybrid, electric or diesel vehicles. It also doesn’t account for the weights of the different vehicles causing the wear and tear on our roads nor the miles per gallon they can travel.
As we get more and more vehicles on the road that use less and less gas our funds diminish while our road deterioration increases.
This tax has no relationship to road deterioration. What it does have is something no other present method of taxation has regarding transportation infrastructure: It is paid by those using the roads to get to where they purchase taxable goods regardless if where they live.
In the case of “tourism” locations, like Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County, people creating wear and tear but not living here pay approximately 60% of that tax! That relieves our local taxpayers of 60% of the cost of those road repairs.
Is there a fairer way? Yes, but it doesn’t exist as yet.
This tax is only paid by large, heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses an motor homes. They do cause greater wear and tear to our roads and this is a way to compensate for that extra expense.
It does not apply to automobiles which also have a significant differential as to weight and the wear and tear they cause.
Vehicle Registration Fees:
These fees previously were use to fix roads but recently were diverted to pay for the Department of Motor Vehicles expenses and some of the California Highway Patrol budget.
By shifting where the money went we significantly reduced the amount of money available for our roads.
Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax:
This is potentially the fairest tax of all but its consideration induces fear of loss of privacy. It is being implemented in other states and is being studied in California but none of the proposals take enough things into consideration to be truly fair.
Modern technology must be used with encripted messaging. The computers should handle all data collection, assignment of billing, credits and payments with a cross checked electronic system. We have the technology to do this and more sophisticated, safe technology is being developed as this is being written. All units must be manufactured to specific specifications that do NOT record specific addresses where the vehicle goes. It should ONLY record the jurisiction of the road on which it traveled (and the weight of the vehicle).
Through very specific GPS we can record the miles traveled on each type of road and who the road belongs to. The devices which can be installed in each vehicle will send information segregated into very specific basic information OTHER THAN EXACT LOCATION. Information could show private road and owner, public road and owner (city, county, state, federal, tax district, etc.). Each unit could also be set to encrypt the weight of the vehicle in which it is located (even including the weight of the load being transported by the vehicle, passenger or freight) in order to adjust the fee accordingly. Different locations actually have different markets for cost of repairing the roads in that specific jurisdiction.
The computed fees would be aggregated by computer and payments would be made to every jurusiction owning roads according to the actual impacts they had from all sources (other than natural disaster). Tourists would pay threir fair share as would freight movements.
This method of providing the money for our transportation infrastructure could replace all of the others FOR REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE. It would NOT provide any money for new construction including expansion of existing facilities.
Now for the Bigger Picture on Paso Robles Transportation!
The transportation system for our city must integrate well into the region and state in all its aspects. Roads, highways, freeways, rail and air infrastructure must each be prepared to carry freight and people to wherever they must go in a safe and efficient manner. The same infrastructure is used for transporting people and freight but the funding components are separated by law. The capacity must be sufficient for both in order to have a healthy environment and vibrant economy. Improvements must take all aspects of travel into consideration and appropriate funding must be provided within a fair format, which means that transportation pays for its own infrastructure on an equitable basis through fuel taxes, license or use fees, Federal Government funding for federal military needs and basic national policy implementation and State funding using the sources already mentioned.
STREETS, ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
These State funds were sufficient from 1935 into the 21st century until the State of California decided to “raid” local revenues to pay for the State’s budget adjustments and overspending. The State first “borrowed” some of our money, with no pay back time set, from one source and all of it from another. Then it changed the type of tax it collected and took all of the local portion for itself. That left the “balance” owed from previous “borrowing” without any designated pay-back time. Through four years of constant badgering for the State to return this money I have been able, through leadership at the local and state levels, to get the State to begin paying that money back in 2013 to a small extent. In 2015, in that manner, I was able to get the State to give Paso Robles over $1.4 million for local roads which we are already in process of using for that purpose within Paso Robles.
However, we should realize that fuel taxes are falling behind need because they were set at specific cents per gallon rather than a percentage of price. Therefore, as gas mileage for vehicles improve and people move to CNG and electric power for their vehicles there is less and less money available to repair our streets and highways. We need to find a more equitable way to fund this maintenance and these repairs. We are looking at various alternatives now in accord with the principles listed above. I am currently reviewing the Governor's Budget Proposal as well as various legislative proposals to address this issue.
Recently another effort of ours came to fruition with the improvement of Union Road through the use of specially designated bicycle path and other local dedicated funds for that purpose. That street reopened in June, 2015. It is greatly improved. We have used bicycle path, drainage and street and road grants plus local funds to also improve 21st Street, 12th Street and Spring Street. Slurry seal of many of our streets will occur during good weather in 2016 using the $1.4 million owed to us, which I was instrumental in securing from the State in 2015.
I expect to be even more involved in drafting future transportation funding legislation in the next few years, through NARC. All of my regional, state and national positions of influence are based upon my being on this City Council and working hard at the opportunities I'm given.
In rail I have worked, as Chairman for two years and a member of the Board of Directors of the rail authority for the Pacific Surfliner Corridor (LOSSAN), to become self- governing without being under the “wing” of Cal-Trans. That effort was successfully concluded on June 29th with the signing of the Interagency Transfer Agreement.
Funding for rail comes primarily from self-generated funds (ticket and food service income) with Federally ordered State subsidies for the balance of cost. The infrastructure is provided by the freight rail companies and we lease time on those rails. They need to be improved and increased for more capacity. I propose to do this by getting a reconsideration of the spending priorities for city-to-city rail corridor infrastructure.
The money I'm seeking would also allow the plans of the Coast Rail Coordinating Committee (CRCC) to come to fruition. As an alternate on that Board of Directors I am working to that end and, if I’m successful, we will have two additional trains stopping in Paso Robles daily. The track improvements for city-to-city rail would also increases freight capacity giving us the opportunity to improve economic development in California and add upwards of one million new jobs with 400 – 650 of them being in our local area.
When I was Chairman of the Board of LOSSAN I was priviledged to be a featured speaker and panelist at various state and national rail conferences and conventions. Through these opportunities I was able to engage the top management of AmTrak in the long distance train division and many of the regional people to further the cause of additional passenger service from San Diego to San Jose. Many of these efforts will take a number of years to accomplish.
During my presidency I also presented to the combined rail corridors a set of policies for us to jointly advocate. My list of five was expanded and fleshed out through the input of all the corridors and their boards to one, unanimously approved, that accomplished a number of things in concert with our dilligence regarding efforts in Sacramento.
The State Senate approved and implemented a new "Select Committee" on rail with Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, of Santa Barbara, as its Chairman in 2014 And the Assembly followed suit in 2015. LOSSAN along with the other rail corridors and the paassengers' organization, Rail PAC, worked together dilligently to make this happen. I am pleased to have been a major part of that effort.
Our efforts toward "self-governance" have succeeded! An agreement between LOSSAN and the State of California was signed on June 29, 2015, giving LOSSAN full operational and management control of the corridor which runs the Pacific Surfliner passenger trains from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.
At our airport we currently serve general aviation (private aircraft), CalFire (for borate bombers) and the military (for summer exercises at Camp Roberts) as well as many local businesses and organizations. We need to develop a freight operations component at our airport, since two efforts at commercial passenger airline travel have previously failed to generate enough traffic for success. Nearly all improvements to the infrastructure at our airport have been provided by Federal funding based in part upon national security purposes. We need to step up to the plate and go the extra mile to enable additional jobs at our airport as funding becomes available.
Proposals are being offered to change the method of airport administration and management. I am meeting with the FAA in Washingto, D.C., during February 2016 to seek information and advice on this topic.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER
Our local surface transportation system is integrally connected with the region, state and nation for long distance freight and passenger travel. Locally, we need alternate and parallel routes to the highway system for motorized vehicles as well as non-motorized trails for those who prefer a personally healthy, less intrusive life style. That system has already been planned and is being implemented in segments as money becomes available.
International trade is an important component of economic development. Our nation is connected by rail and highway with the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles which currently process close to 80% of all Pacific Rim imports and transport them to their destinations throughout the United States. Highways I-10 and I-80 are too impacted to accept much additional freight and still accommodate passenger vehicles. For east/ west transport that leaves only the 46/41 to the I-5 route from the coast through the 101 connection. The Los Angeles basin transportation infrastructure contains 16 of the 40 most congested locations in the United States. We are the next, most natural, outlet for overflow freight truck traffic. We do NOT want to become a congested relief valve for that excess traffic so various preparations are necessary.
First, expand our available capacity while, simultaneously encouraging alternatives.
A cooperative alternative is expansion of rail capacity throughout California to carry the freight. This will also increase capacity and availability of passenger rail with a reduction by up to 30% in travel time (San Luis Obispo to San Diego). The doubling in size of the Panama Canal already has Asia gearing up to increase its exports by $200 billion a year creating over 1.2 million jobs in the United States. Our freight capacity and export capabilities will determine how much of this economic development takes place in California. Due to this known, and obvious, potential impact to Paso Robles I am committed to plan and prepared to accommodate the economic expansion, create alternate local routes and protect our semi-rural lifestyle and culture while accepting the economic advantages of the increased activity.
I am committed to assist the ports on the other side of the Canal (in Florida, Texas and Mississippi) to expand their capabilities and provide healthy competition and availability of alternative service facilities. The world trade market is still expanding, not contracting, and there is sufficient room for all boats to float succefully as the tide rises.
To that end I sponsored a "Ports Policy" at the national level that was adopted in June.
NARC Ports & Waterways Policy Adopted June 10, 2015
PORTS AND WATERWAYS
Ports and waterways are crucial to an integrated, intermodal transportation system; the nation’s economic well-being; and protecting the homeland.
NARC supports federal legislation that:
Creates a national, intermodal freight policy to improve the reliability and efficiency of freight movement and the transportation system overall.
Recognizes the importance of freight and intermodal freight connections and the essential role that regional planning organizations play in issues related to freight movement.
MPOs and other regional planning organizations must be partners in the development of a federal freight program and any federal efforts to create programs to increase freight movement and efficiency, including access to funding.
Provides long-term, increased funding for surface transportation legislation that: allows for adequate construction and maintenance of the landside infrastructure that accesses the nation’s ports and; recognizes and funds planning and construction of intermodal facilities to support these operations.
Annually distribute all funds collected through the Harbor Maintenance Tax for harbor maintenance projects and allow for full utilization of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
Protects the nation and its regions with proactive measures that increase the security – including cybersecurity – of ports and waterways.
Statement to NARC Transportation Committee and Board of Directors prepared for presentation June 8th and 10th, 2015, in Raleigh, NC.
By NARC Transportation Committee Policy Chairman Fred Strong.
You may wonder why we should expend our efforts supporting the nation’s ports when we have so many pressing needs in the area of highways, bridges and rail. Failing infrastructure is extremely important but we can’t pay attention to one aspect of infrastructure and transportation mobility without paying attention to all areas that interface with it or we are doomed to failure.
Each segment of our economy generates jobs, economic benefits and, most importantly for government … tax and fee revenue.
Our nation’s coastal ports in 2014 accounted for 541,946 direct jobs and an additional 21.4 million jobs are with exporters/importers and users of our ports.
In 2014, marine cargo activity generated approximately $4.6 Trillion of economic activity, accounting for 26% of the nation’s gross domestic product.
In 2014, ports accounted for $321.1 Billion of federal, state and local taxes.
What the ports need in return in infrastructure and security maintenance and improvements to handle the expected freight volume in 2025 is a total of $28.9 Billion from the federal government. Pacific ports need over $13 billion. Atlantic ports need over $11 billion. Gulf ports need over $4 billion and Great Lakes ports need over $300 million.
Working together with a Congress and an Administration that recognizes the value of our nation’s TOTAL transportation system for economic survival and the safety of our citizens, we can achieve this during the balance of this Congressional session through long term commitments to achievement.
NARC has developed a port policy proposal that allows us to work with like minded groups to be a significant part of that dialog and achievement. We have the opportunity during this conference to enact it and start down that path.
While there are many opinions and personal observations about the state of our streets and roads, it is necessary to have factual information in order to make responsible decisions. The latest study figures are from 2009 and appear in the Federal Transportation Improvement Program 2013. Paso Robles has more miles of local streets and roads than any other city in the county. 151 miles compared to 144 for Atascadero and 124 for San Luis Obispo. However, maintenance funds that are available are distributed based upon population not road miles. In spite of receiving the least money per mile of road among that group we still have only an average percentage of roads in “bad” and “fair” condition. We have 20% fewer road miles in “poor” condition and we have 12% more roads in “good” and “excellent” condition than the average for this area. On a factual basis Paso Robles is doing a good job with what it has.
Still, we want to catch up and bring all of our streets and roads up to a high standard. That will require greater efforts to bring more of your Federal and State tax money back home to get the job done.
Our streets and roads move freight as well as people. They are an integral element of our economic development. That consideration must be given an appropriate weight in the calculations of when and where we spend scarce dollars for maintenance, repair and replacement.
*Through the position of City Council Member Fred qualifies for, and currently sits on, two League of California Cities’ policy committees that deal with some transportation issues; two Amtrak operated passenger rail boards; on the Board of the San Luis Obispo Council Of Governments (SLOCOG) and the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (SLORTA); member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the California Councils Of Governments organization (CALCOG); member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), where he has alreay been reelected for the 2016 to 2018 term, and Policy Chairman of NARC’s Transportation Committee. His previous positions over past decades on advisory committees for shipping, airport development and infrastructure assessment, as well as his former experience writing federal, state and local legislation that protects local control, transparency and citizen involvement in government decisions were among the reasons he was selected by his peers for his current positions. Fred’s efforts have had, and will have, a significant, positive impact on the transportation future of Paso Robles and the Central Coast region.
POSITION: QUALITY OF LIFE
Higher educational opportunities must be enhanced in conjunction with our economic needs and opportunities to create a higher percentage of high salary careers to raise our standard of living to the level we desire in health, sports, recreation, the arts and personal satisfaction areas.
Personal fulfillment must remain available to all economic sectors of the community as we move forward toward these goals.
People looking to Paso Robles as a possible life destination should see a community where they can live, learn, work and play!
POSITION: LOW INCOME HOUSING
Low income housing should not, and realistically cannot, be in the form of three or four bedroom homes with fireplace, family room, two or three baths with a two car garage on a 10,000 square foot lot. It should be a minimum sized, livable family shelter in single family, duplex, four-plex, condominium or apartment formats. Workforce and moderate income housing should be a step up from basic housing supply. Housing costs will have to be met by the marketplace. Where the Federal and State governments have subsidy money available we should seek our share.
I have been liaison to the Paso Robles Housing Authority throughout its efforts to completely redevelop the more than 60-year-old housing on that site. The first phase is completed and occupied.The second phase is under construction. Development is proceeding as intended.
I am also working diligently to replace funding previously available through our Redevelopment Agency by one of the many mechanisms being proposed at the State level. My work on, and as chairman of, the Housing, Community and Economic Development Policy Committee of the League of California Cities is one of my primary mechanisms to achieve this.
A realistic option for public transit available to all people could allow many low income families the opportunity to reduce their spending on transportation and redirect those funds to housing, food and health care. All efforts in this regard require projects to be only an option for individual choice.
Please note that an "option" is NOT a "mandate" or "requirement". There are some in our community that would deny people opportunities because they "suspect" that it is a precursor to a mandate. That type of "mandate" would be unconstitutional.
I have consistently, throughout my public service, opposed any and all efforts to violate individual's Constitutional rights to choice and State or regional mandates that take decision making power away from local government.
POSITION: PLANNING FOR CITY GROWTH
The City must provide a broad variety of opportunities for its residents. Different people have different needs and desires for their lifestyles. Being different doesn’t mean being “bad”. We have an obligation to make this a City that respects different lifestyles and needs without compromising health and safety considerations. The efforts we made toward long range plans regarding the Uptown, Town Center and Salinas River areas, as well as efforts still in process for the Chandler Ranch, Olsen Ranch and Beechwood areas are examples of the long range planning we hope for as a community. Five of those plans, with my involvement, were the first time that numerous public workshop meetings were held to get the total community involved in the pre-planning process. 40 hours, or more, of opportunity over a week long time frame allowed thousands of public contacts and opinions to be processed in determining our future direction
Our future must look to better utilization of available land and natural resources on, and under the influence of, our airport property and other industrial areas. We must expand the opportunities presented by owning our airport. We must provide the opportunities for appropriate amounts and variety of shopping for our population level. Those opportunities should not include government subsidies for new growth and development. An appropriate amount of housing for all people who freely choose to exercise their rights, as Americans, to live here should be planned for in order to avoid infrastructure and resource shortages, increased crime, and a reduced quality of life. All new development must pay its own way! There is one exception. When Federal or State government orders us to subsidize or provide services, in specific instances, we must follow the law. Following the law does not necessarily mean that we like a specific law so we do have the right and responsibility to try to have the law changed so that it better serves our people. I have, am and will continue to do just that.
Government is not your conscience, however we do have the obligation to approve those developments that offer you legal choices without inserting our personal life style or belief systems into the process. However, if a proposal assuredly will inherently harm the health, safety or physical property of another with equal rights we must create a limit which, if violated, will create a penalty if the violator is convicted under our justice system.
Legal businesses and developments should be supported by the government that has determined them to be within the area of legitimate choice for its people. People, especially under our system of government, deserve to have a variety of choices for their personal life styles. However, illegal activity posing as "legitimate" business must opposed and eliminated wherever and whenever it takes root.
That is exactly what I proposed and supported locally and at the State level regarding human bondage and prostitution establishments posing as "massage parlors." We were very careful in constructing these new laws to protect, and not disparage, legitimate massage businesses. I apply the same principles to all developments that have been granted legality in California, including gambling establishments.
I have been elected to be a civic leader not a religious leader. I am not qualified, nor do I believe I have the right, to impose my belief system upon any other responsible adult in matters of conscience and religious belief. However, I also will not condone any activity, religious or not, that damages, endangers or threatens life, health or property.