Image credit: VTA

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is moving closer to finalizing the guidelines for each of the nine Measure B program categories, including the Bicycle and Pedestrian category, which is projected to distribute $250 million for active transportation planning, education, encouragement, and capital projects over the next 30 years. On Friday, April 21, the VTA Board of Directors will hold a workshop to get an update on the program and provide staff with feedback.

SVBC has been working closely with VTA staff and other advocates, as well as through our ex-officio role on the VTA Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee, to shape the guidelines for the Bike and Pedestrian program.

The current staff recommendation is that projected 2016 Measure B funds be allocated in two-year increments in conjunction with VTA’s two-year budget cycle. The funds will be further divided between Education and Encouragement (15%), Planning (5%), and Capital Projects (80%).

The Education and Encouragement funds present great opportunities while disrupting the way such funding has previously been allocated in Santa Clara County. A few agencies, such as the City of San Jose and the County Public Health Department, have for years applied for and received education funding through the Vehicle Emmissions Reduction Based at Schools (VERBS) grant program. With the availability of Measure B funding, VTA is recommending that VERBS funding be freed up for capital projects near schools – things like crosswalks, drop-off zones, and bike facilities.

The end result is far more money for education and encouragement (a projected $1.25 million annually versus $700,000), but through the proposed formula-based distribution, the available funding will be spread thin. San Jose, with its big population, will fare well – almost doubling its take. The fate of the Public Health Department’s education program, however, is uncertain. The County, as an entity, will take $250,000 off the top for programming, but whether it will go to Public Health or another department hasn’t been sorted out yet. Meanwhile, all 15 cities and towns will receive at least $10,000, but many won’t qualify for much more. Nine cities will receive less than $40,000.

So, the money will be spent broadly, not necessarily deeply, which is a different approach than has been taken in this county for the last six years. What will be the result? Good question! Which is why SVBC will ask the VTA Board of Directors to ensure that the results are being tracked and analyzed, with future funding adjustments considered if the new distribution model isn’t working out.

Another item of interest to bike advocates is the Complete Streets requirement attached to the $1.2 billion Local Streets and Roads category. SVBC has also been working with VTA on complete streets reporting requirements. The VTA Board of Directors is expected to consider the complete streets reporting requirements in June 2017.

Want to get involved in the rollout of Measure B? Email colin@bikesiliconvalley.org to stay up-to-date.

Friday’s VTA workshop is open to the public. The fun begins at 9:00 am at the County Government Center, 70 West Hedding Street, San Jose.

You can also email your feedback to the VTA Board of Directors. Send your thoughts regarding Measure B to board.secretary@vta.org