Teresa O’Neill Appointed Valley Transportation Authority Chair

By Robert Haugh

Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill was selected to be Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Chair for 2019. She was chosen by her colleagues on the VTA Board.

This is the first time O’Neill or any Santa Clara City Council member has served as VTA Chair. Kudos to her.

The Board has 18 members (12 voting and 6 alternates).  Fifteen representatives are City Council members from Santa Clara County cities. Three are County Supervisors. The Board sets VTA policy.

O’Neill was appointed to the VTA board by the City Council in March 2016.  In addition to Santa Clara, she represents the cities of Sunnyvale and Milpitas.

O’Neill previously served on the following VTA committees:

  • Governance and Audit Committee
  • BART Silicon Valley Ad Hoc Committee
  • Administration and Finance Committee

VTA provides bus, light rail, and para-transit services. They are also the Congestion Management Agency responsible for countywide transportation planning.

But next couple of years won’t be an easy one for O’Neill and the rest of VTA.  They’ll have a $46 million deficit in the next two years. Wow.

The VTA is looking to close it with:

  • employee buyouts
  • fare hikes
  • reduced bus service

Here’s a link to the VTA’s plan

They’ve also raised taxes a lot over the last few decades. 80 percent of the VTA’s income comes from our local sales tax! Double wow.

And VTA has spent down its reserves from $50 million to $5 million in the span of 18 months — mostly when San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was VTA chair. Triple wow.

Let’s hope O’Neill does a better job than Liccardo. It would be hard to do worse.

One comment

  1. Well I’m not sure congratulations are in order. VTA is a total failure. Most of the light rail trails are empty and so are the express buses. It’s a bloated bureaucracy with huge salaries and pensions. No one can count on its service, especially the people who need it most.

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