Get Us Moving San Mateo County, the potential ½ cent transportation sales tax measure for the November ballot, now has a draft expenditure plan. As a draft, there is still opportunity to shift things before the final plan is released next month. It then has to be approved by the SamTrans Board and SMC Board of Supervisors to be placed on the November ballot. Overall, there are a lot of good things and some things we still have comments on. Read on for the draft principles and funding categories, next steps, and actions you can take.

In the draft expenditure plan that was presented and discussed at last week’s SamTrans Board meeting, there were additional principles (pg. 11 of presentation) added to the plan. These were directly inspired by the principles that we put together as part of the Transportation Equity Allied Movement Coalition (TEAMC) and that we shared with the Stakeholder Advisory Group and staff. These are that projects funded from the measure should:

  • Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled,
  • Encourage Complete Streets,
  • Encourage biking, walking, transit, carpool, etc. over driving alone,
  • Reduce the transportation impact of housing growth.

It is great to see our input included in the plan. We are particularly excited about the Complete Streets principle and we are working with staff to figure out how this will be translated into policy and implementation if the measure passed. This echoes our work on Santa Clara County’s transportation sales tax a couple years ago, which also included a Complete Streets requirement for funding categories other than bike/ped. See our factsheet for more. We’re very pleased with staff’s sincere efforts throughout the process to engage the community and incorporate feedback into the development of the measure.

A big win, as part of the draft plan, biking and walking projects will be eligible in the highway category, the regional transit connections pot, and the local congestion category. This is something we’ve been pushing for since the debacle of Holly/101 in 2015 and SamTrans has listened to that concern. This will be key to getting biking and walking projects included in all roadway projects as well as boost the overall funding for biking and walking. We are encouraging staff to quantify what the benefits to bike/ped would amount to from these other funding pots. For example, Alameda County’s Measure BB has a bike/ped funding category as well as specifying that 15% of city and county streets will support bike/ped paths and safety improvements on local streets.

The Draft Expenditure Plan also echoes a lot of the TEAMC asks. The draft includes (see the presentation for more details and example projects):

    • 50% for county public transportation systems (maintaining and expanding bus and paratransit service and SamTrans contribution to Caltrain service and facilities)
    • 10% for regional transit connections with emphasis on those that reduce congestion, including Dumbarton Rail and other components, BART, ferries, and regional bike/pedestrian projects
    • 5% for bike and pedestrian
    • 10-15% for local projects: flexible pot w/many eligible local priority projects: repaving, Caltrain grade separations, bike/ped, Transportation Demand Management (TDM), shuttles, etc. or a combination thereof
    • 20-25% for highway projects including interchange redesign, bike/ped over/undercrossings, express lanes, and transportation demand management programs, etc.

We are very pleased with the amount of money proposed for transit, which aligned with our asks. We are still encouraging 10% for bike/ped. At the SamTrans Board meeting, SVBC along with 10 or so other speakers (including two elementary school students) made public comment supporting that amount for biking and walking. The Board discussion largely centered on how to allocate that 5% between local and highway projects. The Board of Supervisors will also be discussing this at their June 19 meeting. Before next month, a final plan will be released.

Next Steps

  • June: Staff is looking for input on the draft plan for the next month
    • June 19, 9 am: Staff present the Draft Plan to the Board of Supervisors
    • Staff is presenting at city councils, chambers, and other groups for the next month
  • Staff will finalize the plan based on feedback
  • June 20: Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting
  • July 11, 2 pm: Staff return to SamTrans Board for final approval for ballot
  • July 24, 9 am: Staff return to Board of Supervisors for final approval for ballot

Actions

  • Visit and share the TEAMC website and sign and share the petition
  • Fill out and Share the Get Us Moving budget tool and allocate the budget to your favorite transportation priorities (like transit, biking, and walking)
  • Attend your city council meeting when Get us Moving is on the agenda and make a public comment about TEAMC asks or talk to your local elected officials
  • Email board@samtrans.com and your Supervisor (find out here) with your support for:
    • The Complete Streets principles and implementation
    • Bike/ped eligibility in multiple categories
    • 10% for bike/ped
    • 60% for transit
    • At least 15% for local money, including grade separations