Regional Measure 3 (RM3) has been approved by you, the voters! The measure, which was on the ballot for all nine Bay Area counties, will raise bridge tolls over time to raise $4.45 billion for transportation projects in the Bay Area, including $150 million for Safe [biking and walking] Routes to Transit and completing the Bay Trail. SVBC endorsed the measure and we are super excited to see this money go to worthy projects in our area.
Besides the $150 million for biking and walking connections to transit and completing the Bay Trail, RM3 will provide funding for Dumbarton Corridor Improvements, making improvements to San José Diridon Station, bringing BART to San José, adding BART cars, extending Caltrain in downtown San Francisco, improved Clipper capabilities, and more. Over 60% of RM3 funds will go towards transit. Transit is often key for people who rely on biking to help them travel longer distances and we know these projects will help many of you get around.
This is the third regional measure that raises bridge tolls for transportation money. The Bay Area is in dire need of transportation dollars for a myriad of projects and we need that from every source: federal, state, regional, local. Transportation projects these days cost into the billions of dollars with constant increases. It’s important that the Bay Area is able to provide some of that funding locally. That’s where RM3 and the potential SMC sales tax measure come in. There’s no one silver bullet, we must tackle these problems with a range of solutions.
During this process, many folks raised concerns around equity, recognizing that people who can’t afford to live here must drive long distances to work. That commute takes them over the very bridges that we will now be increasing the cost for. We acknowledge the equity concerns. We also highlight that the money raised from these tolls will help fund long-distance transit options like BART, Caltrain, Dumbarton Rail, express buses, and more carpool lanes that would help solve the transportation puzzle for many so they no longer would need to drive. In addition, MTC is just embarking on a means-based transit fare pilot program for certain transit agencies. We support future efforts to have means-based tolls to lower the burden on people with lower incomes.