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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ...  (More)

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Santa Clara County 2016 Transportation Ballot Measure

Uploaded: Sep 14, 2015
The San Jose Mercury News reported today on the preliminary wish list of projects for the 2016 county sales tax measure for transportation.

web link

The list includes $50 billion in funding while the sales tax measure is expected to raise $6 billion. Some of the shortfall could be made up by outside funding but there is no doubt that this initial list will need to be substantially reduced.

$30 billion in transit projects were identified including $2 billion to extend BART to San Jose. Road repair projects totaled $9 billion while highway improvements were near $6 billion. Other projects included bike and pedestrian improvements and local expressway projects.

Local projects included a CalTrain crossing project at Charleston, Highway 101 improvements at University, Embarcadero and San Antonio and more express lanes on 101.
Road repairs got favorable mention in the article.

"A huge chunk will almost certainly be set aside to fill potholes. Two years ago in a survey of likely voters, 87 percent rated street repairs a high priority. But last week talks collapsed in Sacramento that would have raised the state gas tax by 12 cents a gallon for road fixes."

There are more details in the article.

Take a look and tell readers what you think of the list and the need for a ballot measure.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Again, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 15, 2015 at 12:51 am

Looks like all of the substantial taxes we pay have been diverted to pensions for our government class, leaving them begging for more tax dollars to do the services they are supposed to be doing in the first place. I'm a democrat but fully support removing unions from the public sector (where the fox guards the henhouse).

How does a place that is a principal economic cornerstone of the world's largest economy, with close to the highest tax rate in the country (13.3 state, 8.5-9 sales, property, plus all the misc. fees and other taxes) not have money to fix its own potholes?

Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Sep 15, 2015 at 11:40 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

@ again

What pots of money pay for road improvements and other transportation projects is complicated.

For the local roads in Palo Alto, maintenance is done from the General Fund. In recent years the City has allocated an extra $2 million to accelerate fixing the roads with the result that our good or excellent condition ranking has gone up steadily.

But most state and federal funding is tied to gasoline taxes, which has restrained available funding.

Mileages standards have improved and fewer vehicles use gasoline. In addition gas taxes have not been raised in years.

So the pot of money falls behind inflation and mounting bad roads.

This has nothing to do with public employee retirement benefits, which is a separate challenge.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community,
on Sep 15, 2015 at 1:05 pm

BART, BART and BART. Road improvements are great but we need to reduce the amount of people driving in Silicon Valley. We need to think better planning to reduce the amount of car trips.

Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:06 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

BART is being extended to Fremont, Milpitas and Berrtessa.

The only BART funding in the current proposal is to extend BART to San Jose and that could take 1/4 or more of the available funding.

There are no proposals currently for BART on the peninsula though there are ideas and projects to reduce car travel from what it would otherwise have been--such as CalTRain expansion.

Posted by BART to Santa Clara Cost, a resident of another community,
on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:39 pm

I think the reason the talk is of "only" $2 Billion of the new $6 Billion sales tax being needed to wastefully extend BART from Berryessa to Santa Clara is because another $2 Billion remains in revenue from the 2000 Measure A tax. That tax continues till 2030. We also have a supplemental $1.5 Billion sales tax approved in 2008 that did not start up until 2012, for BART operation. Half of that operational supplement is reserved for operating BART from Berryessa to Santa Clara.

Now pushing BART to Berryessa will help take cars off of 880/17 and 680, in Alameda County and on into Santa Clara County. But, I seriously question the benefit of the additional BART extension to Santa Clara. We need to be fair in allocating both the remaining $2 Billion from older taxes -and- any potentially approved additional $6 Bill. Many of the competing needs seem much more high performing than BART underground from Berryessa to downtown San Jose. Left as it is, we might finally see some decent usage for Light Rail which already runs a 'quick trip' to downtown before meandering all over here and yon thereafter.

Let's get some usage out of existing Light Rail!

Posted by Robyn, a resident of another community,
on Sep 17, 2015 at 4:51 pm

No new taxes nor government fees. What is being done with the county charge of $20.00 in our car registrations?

Posted by Whizmo, a resident of another community,
on Sep 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm

The measure will raise $6 billion and BART wants $2 billion, or 33%.

I suppose that's an improvement over the 80% BART has historically sucked up.

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Sep 20, 2015 at 1:25 pm

BART replicates our existing transit structure with its north-south chauvinism. To be useful, future transit must supply the missing east-west infrastructure.

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