Friday Must Read: Sorry Planet, But More Toll Lanes Are Coming and Probably More Suburban Sprawl, Too



The top five stories of the day:

1. Bay Area transportation officials are continuing their love affair with toll lanes, bringing the controversial lanes to the South Bay on Interstate 880 and 237, the Mercury News reports. Caltrans also hopes that the installation of toll lanes, which allow solo motorists to drive in the carpool lane for a price, will go much more smoothly than it did on I-680 in Fremont and Sunol. Although the jury is still out on whether toll lanes actually relieve traffic congestion, transportation officials plan to eventually extend them into carpool lanes throughout the region. But what the Merc doesn’t report is that toll lanes could inspire even more people to get into their cars and not take mass transit to work, thereby worsening the Bay Area’s greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Bay Area officials also are moving forward with plans to extend BART to Livermore, even though such rail extensions — along with toll lanes — could spur even more suburban sprawl by making it easier for suburban commuters to get to work. The CoCo Times reports that the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which is dominated by elected officials from suburban areas, voted overwhelmingly to include the $400 million BART to Livermore proposal in a sales tax measure that would go before East Bay voters. Commissioner Keith Carson, who represents Oakland and Berkeley, was the lone vote against the plan, saying more money should be spent on urban bus systems.

3. Oakland city officials have once again lowered their estimate for the number of workers who will be laid off because of the elimination of redevelopment to 81 employees, the Trib reports. The city recently learned that it will receive bridge funding from the state as it dismantles its vast redevelopment infrastructure. The city council, meanwhile, also is objecting to a proposal to slash city funding for Children’s Fairyland.

4. Chevron’s troubles in Latin America continue to worsen as its CEO and other top executives could be indicted on criminal charges in Brazil for an a large oil spill there, Reuters reports. The oil giant also is still fighting a massive multi-billion civil judgment in Ecuador.

5. And ex-San Ramon cop Louis Lombardi pleaded guilty to numerous corruption charges in a plea deal that includes testifying against other alleged crooked officers and against private investigator Christopher Butler, who is caught up in the so-called Dirty DUI scandal, the Chron reports.