Danville Mayor Mike Doyle joined with elected officials from San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore to present a united front to legislators in Washington, D.C., both to ask for funds and to pursue their common vision for the Tri-Valley.
They were in D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors this week, and the Tri-Valley contingent visited every senator and member of the House of Representatives from the Bay Area, said Doyle.
"We were just pleading with them to fund these things immediately," said Doyle, referring to the I-680 and I-580 improvements.
"We're talking jobs, jobs, jobs," he continued. "I believe the election in Massachusetts was a wakeup call to get ready and to do this because without jobs they're going to be recalling everybody in November."
The Tri-Valley mayors met this afternoon with U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D., 11th) and discussed, via conference telephone call, the progress they'd made.
"Each mayor has his own interests and they were presented to me in a unified fashion," said McNerney. "They have developed a vision for what our Tri-Valley is going to look like in several years. They want an infrastructure that enhances our economy. And they want to take care of people who have fallen by the wayside."
In addition to the $200,000 for the Veterans Memorial Building renovation, McNerney announced that the following key projects in the Tri-Valley will receive federal funding:
• $1 million for Interstate 580 Corridor Improvements
• $1,050,000 for East Bay Regional Communications System
• $550,000 for Safe and Bright Futures for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (Department of Health and Human Services, Contra Costa County)
• $600,000 for Park Conservation Crews (East Bay Regional Park District)
The mayors were also seeking funds for the I-680 Auxiliary Lane Improvement Project; the I-580/State Route 84 Triangle Corridor Improvements Project; the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center; and another $35 million for the East Bay Regional Communications System.
"The project with 680 … is going to make the commute easier, much, much easier," said Doyle. "The big thing about this project is that it is 'shovel-ready,' which is the big word on Capitol Hill. If we got the money tomorrow, we would have the men back at work tomorrow."
The Regional Communications System has been a mission with the Tri-Valley mayors in Washington for the last couple of years.
"The East Bay Regional Communications System started in September 2007 because we realized that if there was a disaster we couldn't communicate with each other," said San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson.
He called the cooperation unprecedented to implement the system in two counties, with 29 cities and four special districts. This includes 23 representatives, elected officials, police and fire chiefs and city managers.
"There is something about five mayors working together," Wilson said. "Why is this important? Look at Haiti now. The recovery didn't start until about four days after the earthquake. Most of that was due to lack of basic communication. We want to make sure this doesn't happen in Alameda and Contra Costa counties."
Bill McCammon, executive director of East Bay Regional Communications Systems Authority, was also in Washington to accompany the mayors to seek funding.
"We've accumulated grant dollars and have built the infrastructure," he said. "We have 36 repeater sites in two counties."
They will be testing the Tri-Valley cell in the second quarter of this year, he said. Additional federal funds will help develop additional sites for the system.
"We're actively working with the Bay Area Security Initiative," McCammon explained, "partnering with the city and county of San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara. We'd be the East Bay hub. Then we'd have Bay Area interoperability."
Wilson and Doyle said the mayors had met with President Obama, and they'd had a chance to talk to First Lady Michelle Obama.
"She is breathtakingly beautiful - and nice," said Doyle. "I gave her my card and told her to call me."
"She is an unbelievable, articulate, beautiful lady," said Wilson. "Very, very engaging."
They said they also met with newly elected U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D., 10th).
"He was very gracious and said he was going to support everything we're requesting," said Doyle.