SVBC urges you to vote YES on Measure W, the San Mateo County transportation ballot measure on the November 6 ballot. As we shared over the past year, SVBC worked with SamTrans, TEAMC, our members, and numerous other stakeholders on the expenditure plan and we support the resulting measure.
Here’s how Measure W supports biking:
- Five percent ($120 million or $4 million/year) of funding for bike/ped projects and programs like green bike lanes and Safe Routes to School
- A Complete Streets principle: “Incorporate the inclusion and implementation of Complete Streets policies and other strategies that encourage safe accommodation of all people using the roads, regardless of mode of travel.”
- Eligibility for bike/ped components into roadway and interchange projects via the Highway and Local Safety categories
- Sixty percent of the measure will go toward local transit (expanding SamTrans service, electrifying the fleet, express bus services, and more) and regional transit (including Dumbarton corridor connections)
- Other principles focused on moving more people with fewer cars and reducing pollution
The Bay Area is in the midst of a transportation and housing crisis. We need every tool at our disposal, including every source of funding locally, regionally, and statewide to put toward critical transportation projects in our area. Measure W is a 30-year, ½ cent sales tax that wil generate $2.4 billion. This will be in addition to the existing Measure A transportation sales tax in San Mateo County, which runs through 2033. Other counties throughout the Bay Area, like Santa Clara County’s Measure B in 2016, have recently passed transportation ballot measures to augment their ability to deliver important transportation projects locally.
Measure W reflects priorities identified through nine months of extensive outreach to communities throughout the County and it has been unanimously approved by the San Mateo County Transit District Board of Directors and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
There is opposition to this measure too. Here are some of the arguments against the measure and why we think it’s still important to approve.
This is a regressive tax – It would have greater impacts on lower income groups!
We agree new sources of funding need to be considered to fund transportation other than sales taxes and we are working with our partners on considering other options in the next few years. However, financial arguments should not be the only consideration in policy. Climate change is the biggest challenge of our lives. Traffic is affecting everyone’s quality of life and the economy. Measure W would fund projects and programs that would significantly reduce carbon emissions, reduce exposure to pollution that is harmful to health, cut traffic, and provide safer, more efficient travel options for everyone, including people of lower incomes. A full 50% of Measure W is allocated for local transit, which will benefit low income and transit-dependent residents and commuters. Without this investment, SamTrans will be forced to cut bus service by roughly 30%, which will directly impact low income people who rely on the bus to get around.
What will be done with the highway money? Will it be again spent toward highway widening? It will only end up adding on to more traffic!
We certainly hope not! The guiding principles that we helped establish will determine what types of projects and programs are funded and are more flexible than previous measure categories. The principles call for moving more people with fewer cars, reducing carbon emissions, and prioritizing high-occupancy travel modes like transit and carpooling, over strategies that encourage more solo driving. The roadway spending will be subject to the Complete Streets Policy to encourage safe accommodation of all people using roads. Bicycle and pedestrian components or facilities are explicitly stated as an eligible expense in the roadway categories. Transportation demand management and commute alternatives programs are also eligible expenses.
The government has sufficient money! It is just not being managed well!
Measure W has a strong emphasis on accountability: The measure’s spending will be guided by the core principles established in the plan and a Strategic Plan informed by community input will set the guidelines to administer spending of the Plan. Furthermore, a 15-member independent citizen oversight committee will meet regularly to monitor decision-making, ensure accountability, with emphasis on public transparency.
Help Us Win
We need you to get this measure passed! We are actively gathering volunteers like you to help table, flyer, and generally talk about the benefits of Measure W to your friends and neighbors. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Measure W volunteer” in the subject line and include the following info: name, email, zip code, and availability.