In my role as Pleasanton's mayor, I recently traveled with the other Tri-Valley mayors for our annual trip to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. I'm pleased to report that despite the government shutdown, we had a successful trip advocating for our region.
During our visit, we met with senior staff representing Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and we met directly with Congressional members Eric Swalwell, Mark DeSaulnier and Josh Harder.
We also met with senior staff for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, where we learned of new possible funding sources for projects in the Tri-Valley.
Our focus for these meetings was on two areas of great importance to our communities -- local control and transportation.
Regarding local control, we strongly opposed the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules on local telecommunications infrastructure. Our objection stems from the FCC's limitation of a city's ability to regulate small cell sites such as those attached to street lights and utility poles needed for the deployment of 5G technology.
The FCC's regulations sharply limit the revenues cities may collect from for-profit companies for installation of cells on public property, forcing cities to subsidize development at the cost of other critical local services. The regulations also impose a one-size-fits-all pre-emption of existing local policies and unrealistically reduces the time a city is allowed to review applications, no matter how many sites are included in a single application.
The FCC allowed the industry to write these regulations without sufficient input from local governments or citizens. This new technology is needed, but the FCC's limits are an extreme overreach by the federal government.
To overturn these unfair rules, Rep. Anna Eshoo has submitted HR 530, and Rep. Swalwell has agreed to co-sponsor this bill. It is my hope that a number of House and Senate representatives will hear from our citizens in support of this legislation.
Regarding transportation, I know I don't need to explain to any of our residents the impact of congestion on our daily lives. As mayors, we advocated for continued federal funding of improved circulation and expansion of our transportation network.
We promoted three priorities: improving highway traffic flow such as widening State Route 84 and adding express lanes on interstates 580 and 680; building a light rail connection from BART to the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) through the Valley Link rail project; and completing the Iron Horse Trail from Danville to Livermore including improved pedestrian overcrossings.
While in Washington, we also advocated to protect funding for affordable housing programs such as Community Development Block Grant funds that support senior housing projects like Kottinger Gardens.
The primary objective of our annual trips to Washington is to ensure that our Congress members and key federal departments are informed about issues important to the Tri-Valley and to lay the groundwork for future requests for funding and support.
Each year it has been my honor to represent the voices of Pleasanton residents and businesses during our annual trips to Washington D.C. Advocacy for federal funding through collaboration with the five Tri-Valley mayors is essential to maintaining the excellent quality of life we enjoy in our region.
For more information about our legislative advocacy efforts, visit www.cityofpleasantonca.gov and click on the "City Council & Mayor" page.