This topic is provided for information only, the SVBC has not taken an official position on this issue.
“To reduce dependence on foreign oil, help relieve soaring gas prices and combat climate change, shall the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority enact a 1/8 cent sales tax limited to thirty years for BART to operate/maintain/improve the 16.1 mile Santa Clara County BART extension, with stations in Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara, connecting with Caltrain from Gilroy to San Francisco and an Airport People Mover, to be collected only if sufficient state/federal funds are secured to match local construction dollars?”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (source: yes on B campaign)
- Who will build the BART extension?
The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) would build the BART extension. When it comes to building major road or rail transit lines, they have a solid performance of delivering improvements on-time and on-budget.
- Who will operate/maintain the BART extension?
BART will operate and maintain the BART extension, as part of their entire system. VTA would not operate the line.
- Will 1/8 of one cent be enough to cover the operations/maintenance of the BART extension?
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) directed the VTA to hire the consulting firm DMJM/AECOM. The FTA has relied on AECOM on numerous occasions to provide accurate information they rely upon in evaluating potential projects for funding. The results of the AECOM analysis show unequivocally that 1/8 of one cent is more than enough to operate/maintain the line.
- How much would this 1/8 of one cent sales tax cost the average family in Santa Clara County?
According to the San Jose Mercury News, this modest sales tax increase would cost the average household of three people in Santa Clara County about $35 per year.
- Is the tax collected even if the state and federal funds do not materialize?
No. The tax is only collected if – and only if – the State and Federal Governments match our local construction dollars. Without the state and federal funds secured, the tax would never take effect.
- How much in state and federal funds needs to be secured in order for the tax to take effect?
The State has already allocated $409 of the $649 million guaranteed in state statute. The balance due is $240 million. The Federal government would need to sign a “Full Funding Grant Agreement” for a minimum of $750 million. Without these two dollar amounts secured, the tax would never start.
- When do you believe the federal government would commit the funds?
If Measure B passes, the VTA would seek a “Full Funding Grant Agreement.” That process takes anywhere from 18 months to three years.
- When would construction start and end?
To be conservative in our estimates, we would anticipate no later than 2013 for construction to begin. The construction project would last four years, completed in 2017.
- When would service on the extension begin?
If construction starts in 2013, service should start in 2017.
- Will the BART extension happen without this measure?
Without a dedicating revenue stream to operate/maintain the extension, the Federal Government has stated a “Full Funding Grant Agreement” is not possible. Therefore, without Measure B or an equivalent funding stream that does not decimate VTA’s current system (Federal statute precludes service reductions as a way to generate money for “New Rail Starts” dollars), the extension to Santa Clara is highly unlikely.
- How many trips would the extension generate?
The FTA-approved model states that the 16.1-mile extension would serve 98,250 weekday passenger trips by 2030. That is equivalent to two full freeway lanes of traffic in the Highway 680/880 corridor.
- Will this connect with Caltrain and Light Rail to link the three systems for passengers?
Yes, the BART system would grow to 120 miles, connecting in Santa Clara with the 79 mile Caltrain system which runs from Gilroy to San Francisco. Both systems would connect via the future People Mover to San Jose International Airport. BART would also connect in two locations with the Light Rail system. Together, 91 percent of all Santa Clara County residents would be within three miles or less of a BART, Caltrain or Light Rail station.