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[whitespace] 'O' No!

Airport traffic pain

Thanks to a traffic-improvement deal negotiated by Mayor Ron Gonzales, the authors of this initiative--including former Councilman David Pandori--have switched sides and are now opposing Measure O. But the deal was worked out too late to take it off the ballot.

That's why airport expansionistas, who have formed the Committee for Responsible Transportation Planning, are planning to spend $500,000 to defeat Measure O. As San Jose Chamber of Commerce executive director Steve Tedesco points out, any measure promising "traffic relief" will be appealing to road-weary valley voters.

Tedesco and his ilk fear a provision in Measure O--which they consider a poison pill killing expansion--requiring a rail connection to the airport from First Street. A true rail link, Measure O opponents estimate, would cost a prohibitive $530 million.

Under Mayor Gonzales' plan, an $80 million people mover will provide a public transit link to San Jose International from First Street. It's a smart, cost-effective alternative to light rail. The negotiated deal also calls for widening the ever-annoying bottleneck on Highway 87 near the airport and a rebuilt interchange at Coleman and I-880.

Since the initiative's authors have abandoned their brainchild, Measure O's cause has been taken up by the Citizens Against Airport Pollution (CAAP). Among CAAP's more prominent figureheads is former San Jose Mayor Janet Gray Hayes, who lives in the Rose Garden neighborhood.

We suspect CAAP's real concern surrounding the airport's expansion is not a "watered down" deal on traffic improvements but increased noise pollution. This is not to say that noise from the airport isn't a problem. It is. But airport noise is a different problem from traffic congestion. It should be dealt with in a separate forum.

The authors of this initiative did a great public service by forcing expansion-happy city officials to prepare for the traffic consequences of a bigger airport. And now that officials have acted, the initiative is moot.

Vote no on Measure O.

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From the February 24-March 1, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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