What is the SJJPA hiding from Oakley residents? The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) delivers rail service throughout the region, especially within the San Joaquin Valley (from Sacramento to Bakersfield). The agency intends to fund the Amtrak train service to begin arriving at the train platform in Oakley. There has been an ongoing discussion that the ridership on the Oakley to Oakland route will not be sufficient to fund the endeavor.

            On May 23, 2023, Tamika Smith, Director of Rail Services for the SJJPA, presented information to the Oakley City Council regarding the forthcoming (someday) rail service in Oakley. I asked for the ridership anticipated on the train. Ms. Smith did not have the figures with her but promised to forward them to Mr. McMurray. The information did not arrive.

            Mr. McMurray again requested the figures, which have not arrived. I am disappointed. The concern I have is Oakley will begin receiving rail services. Much like we are now experiencing with BART operations, there will not be enough revenue to sustain rail services. I fear the SJJPA Board, predominantly members residing in the San Joaquin Valley, will impose a region-wide tax, including Oakley residents, to build revenue to keep the train operating. We have seen this with BART, where San Mateo County voted to tax counties where BART operates. The vote resulted in all residents with increased taxes continuing to operate BART, including Contra County residents. Contra Costa voters voted no on the tax but still must pay the money because of San Mateo County’s positive vote.

            I have severe reservations concerning the train operation and voted against financing it. I can only hope that we will have another unsuccessful public transportation system in Oakley which will become financially detrimental to those who have chosen to live in our city.

            Yes, Mayor Aaron Meadows, Vice-Mayor Anissa Williams, Councilmembers Shaw, and Henderson voted for the project.

A URL to Ms. Smith’s presentation is below.

George Fuller, Ed.D.
    City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA 

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