FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2020
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OPPOSES VTA’S 2016 MEASURE B 10-YEAR EXPENDITURE PLAN
SAN JOSE – On Tuesday, Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously (5-0) to adopt a resolution opposing the Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA) proposed 2016 Measure B 10-Year Outlook Base Scenario which further funds the BART to San Jose expansion at the expense of other transportation projects throughout the County. The Board’s 5-0 vote followed a motion by County Supervisor Joe Simitian.
Simitian presented his colleagues with letters of concern from nine cities in the county: Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara, as well as a letter from the Cities Association of Santa Clara, which represents all 15 cities in the County.
“Getting to ‘Yes’ on a 10-year expenditure plan has to start with a clear and resounding ‘No’ to VTA’s current proposal,” said Simitian. “The Board’s action is that clear and resounding No.”
“VTA’s proposed 2016 Measure B 10-Year Outlook Base Scenario contains built-in assumptions that are unacceptable,” said Simitian. The built-in assumptions include the BART Phase II project being the highest priority for the next ten years, providing it with first call on the Measure B revenues. This results in little to no Measure B funding being available for the majority of the other Measure B programs during this 10-year period, including for Local Streets and Roads, Caltrain Grade Separation, Caltrain Corridor Capacity Improvements, Highway Interchanges, County Expressways, and the Highway 85 Corridor.
“VTA’s approach is inconsistent with the promises made to voters in 2016; it effectively means no meaningful progress will be made for the next ten years in six program areas,” Simitian noted. “The solution here is a 10-year outlook that actually serves the needs of the entire County, as the 2016 ballot measure promised.”
Simitian said County residents have already funded the BART extension over the past 20 years, and shouldn’t have to wait another decade for meaningful congestion relief throughout the entire County.
Measure B was approved by over a two-thirds vote in 2016. It is a one-half cent sales tax measure operative for 30 years to fund nine program categories. The primary goals of the measure are to provide meaningful congestion relief throughout the County and improve road pavement conditions.
The nine program categories of transportation projects authorized in 2016 Measure B are:
- Local Streets and Roads;
- Bicycle and Pedestrian;
- Caltrain Grade Separation;
- Caltrain Capacity Improvements;
- Highway Interchanges;
- County Expressways;
- State Route 85 Corridor;
- Transit Operations; and,
- BART Phase II.
The approved resolution calls on the VTA Board of Directors to reject the proposed scenario and support a Measure B 10-Year Outlook that balances investments over the ten-year period among all nine Measure B programs consistent with the allocation ratios in the 2016 ballot measure, including avoiding or minimizing reductions in the annual formula programs (Local Streets and Roads, Bicycle/Pedestrian, and Transit Operations) and maintaining progress for the capital projects in the other programs that are already under way during this 10-year period, thereby ensuring countywide benefits as promised in the 2016 ballot measure.