Op-ed: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure T1, the $100M bond measure

No, infrastructure is not “sexy”, but it is critical to our quality of life. And Berkeley has not invested adequately in it for many years. We need to change that.

Enter Measure T1. T1 authorizes a $100 million bond to renew our parks and failing critical infrastructure. Although bond money from Measure M (streets and watershed, 2012) and parcel tax money from Measure F (parks, 2014) have helped, we have much more to do. Even the highest priority repairs are not being made in some facilities, while parks, storm sewers, and our watersheds need major investments. We’re losing ground.

Now is the time. If deterioration continues, the costs increase dramatically as timely maintenance becomes impossible and we need more repair or rebuilding. And, very importantly, bond prices are at historic lows. We learned from Measures M and F how to cooperate across Commissions in a transparent, robust community process to determine priorities. We can move ahead with T1 investments using what we’ve learned in an inclusive, effective way.

Look to the future. Rather than simply repairing or rebuilding our current infrastructure and facilities, we need a vision of where we want to go. Our population is changing, the environment is changing with climate change and other forces, and technologies are constantly changing. This is a chance to make our city more energy and water efficient, seismically safe, sustainable and resilient. A transition away from 20th century engineering solutions, like cisterns and pumps, to more holistic natural system solutions, like permeable pavements and natural aquifers, can be more efficient, more durable, provide multiple benefits, and improve the livability of our beautiful City.

Measure T1 is supported by the League of Women Voters, the Sierra Club, the City Council, and a very long list of others. There is no organized opposition. A two-thirds vote is needed to pass Measure T1, so your vote is very important.

Let’s stop the downhill slide and move into a bright, better, and sustainable future. Please vote “yes” on Measure T1.

Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles. We ask that we are given first refusal to publish. Topics should be Berkeley-related, local authors are preferred, and we don’t publish anonymous pieces. Email submissions as Word documents or embedded in the email to editors@berkeleyside.com. The recommended length is 500-800 words. Please include your name and a one-line bio that includes full, relevant disclosures. Berkeleyside will publish op-ed pieces at its discretion.

Diz Swift is vice-chair of the Berkeley Public Works Commission, and VP-Action for the League of Women Voters – Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville.