How do we make bicycling safer, easier, and more attractive in the Bay Area? That’s the question that we at SVBC ask ourselves every day. One way is by connecting bike trips to buses and trains to expand your bike-based destinations (see our Bikes + Transit work). Another is by making sure that there are low-stress and attractive bike routes to the places you want to go. Regional Measure 3 (RM3) could enhance both these strategies by using money from increased tolls to pay for transit, access to transit, and closing gaps in the Bay Trail.
On June 5, 2018, Bay Area voters will be asked to vote on RM3, a graduated $3 bridge toll increase for the seven state-owned bridges in the Bay Area, which will generate $4.5 billion in revenue for transportation capital improvements in our region. The measure requires 50%+1 voter approval to pass. In December 2017, SVBC’s Policy Advisory Committee approved endorsement of the ballot measure by SVBC after we worked with other bike coalitions to ensure money for bike improvements in the expenditure plan.
The expenditure plan was developed and approved by the state legislature last year through state legislation, SB 595. At that time, SVBC collaborated with the other Bay Area bike coalitions (San Francisco, East Bay, Marin, Napa, and Sonoma) to form a united ask for Bay Trail improvements and funds for Safe Routes to Transit. Our collective advocacy ensured that $150 million was included in RM3’s expenditure plan for these bike and pedestrian projects. SB 595 was passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Brown in fall 2017.
RM3 follows RM2 (approved by voters in 2004) and RM1 (1988). RM2 included the creation of the Safe Routes to Transit program, which funds projects that provide first- and last-mile solutions for people walking and biking to transit. The amount that went to Safe Routes to Transit in RM2 was only $20 million but was able to fund 54 projects. Some you may recognize are the Caltrain bike/ped underpass in South San Francisco (in construction now), Santa Clara’s Caltrain bike/ped tunnel (complete), and improvements to access Diridon Station. Imagine what $150 million can do! See MTC’s site for a full map of sample projects that could be funded by RM3’s Safe Routes to Transit funds (and a select version above).
The expenditure plan also includes $130 million for Dumbarton Corridor Improvements (see our campaign to get a trail on this corridor), $100 million for San Jose Diridon Station, and $375 million for BART to San Jose Phase 2, among other projects. Over 60% of RM3 funds will go towards transit.
So, SVBC supports the passage of RM3, which can help to make bicycling (and transit) a more viable option throughout the Bay Area. We are also actively working on getting more funds for biking in the potential transportation sales tax measure in San Mateo County, which would go on the November 2018 ballot. s