For far too long, Silicon Valley has had little vision and we have resorted to short-term thinking to address our underlying challenges. We needed a plan based on sound principles of urban planning, that would account for housing, traffic, jobs, water/sewer, schools, and fire safety.
Now the very future and sustainability of Silicon Valley is at stake. For example, we should have pushed for the investment in mass transit here to address our traffic challenges. Investments for cutting-edge mass transportation projects should happen here and not the “High Speed Rail to nowhere.” For far too long, we have duct taped mass transportation systems that fall short and a travesty of a system called the Light Rail bleeds taxpayer dollars. It should be shut down. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which manages the county's road and transit network, is one of the nation’s most inefficient organizations, losing about $9.30 per rider. The VTA rail system is currently used by fewer than 5% of area commuters. Any plan to fix Silicon Valley transportation must be part of a larger transportation plan for Northern and Central California. My approach involves developing public-private partnerships that can more quickly and efficiently develop our transportation infrastructure, and at lower risk to the taxpayer. My policy paper on this topic is at RishiKumar.com/traffic
Our governor rightfully said, “California looks like a third-world country.” We suffer record crime, a declining education system, and runaway inflation, while draconian mandates like SB-9 facilitate a historical California land grab thanks to the nexus between our politicians and land developers. I am tired of politicians making empty promises like affordable housing, only to profit the land developers. They promise progress but only give us crumbs.
It is time we had someone who will actually keep their word, fight for the people and will NEVER sell out. We need to be smarter, more strategic about our investments and housing policies - we need a well thought out affordable housing plan, not just haphazard lot splitting, and a city-state partnership like this one for production must be part of the solution - not the preemption of local control. We need to explore options to fund low-income housing construction similar to the redevelopment agencies of the past, and launch new affordable cities. I believe in adding housing around transit stations but not violating the urban planning principles to maintain the charm, character and quality of life. I will fight the poorly planned housing push that preempts local control while ignoring the need for truly affordable housing, displaces small businesses, disregards any infrastructure plan for traffic, parking, water, sewers, environment and wildlife risks. Visit my managed growth vision plan to create true affordable housing and expand our economy.
Over 168,000 Bay Area commuters and millions of local drivers are stuck every day in Silicon Valley traffic. Commutes are only getting longer and more frustrating, and our available public transportation is woefully inadequate. Billions have been wasted on the ill-conceived Bullet Train that is going nowhere, and our elected leaders have not been able to offer a solution for our traffic woes. Meanwhile, housing prices are going through the roof, and fewer people are able to afford homes in Silicon Valley within close proximity to their workplace. We need innovative measures to tackle these two issues simultaneously.
My vision is for a cutting-edge, tunnel-enclosed high-speed transportation system with innovative, cutting-edge transportation solutions that would bring 12.2 million people living in the 21 counties of the Northern California Megaregion within a short commute of Silicon Valley jobs; and affordable homes within 21 minutes of Silicon Valley workers. Operating at average speeds of 600 mph, such a system could cross the 150 miles between Yuba City and San Jose in under 15 minutes.
For parents commuting to San Jose, this would mean they could finally have time to walk their child to school in the morning and be back in time to help with their child’s homework before dinner.
The entire Northern California Megaregion would become part of a Mega Silicon Valley innovation economy, experiencing increased opportunity, retaining talent, and providing affordable housing options for all.
Visit my managed growth vision plan to create true affordable housing and expand our economy. Here is my plan for our homeless population.