After over three weeks of counting votes and a day to day rollercoaster we can finally declare victory for Measure W, the transportation ballot measure in San Mateo County that will bring $80 million/year to improve public transit, create safer bike and pedestrian routes, reduce traffic, repair roads, and address other urgent community needs. We won! It was a razor thin margin but over 2/3 of San Mateo County voters supported the cause of improving transportation for everyone.
This success wouldn’t be possible without so many people and we want to thank all of them:
- First, all of you out there who voted for the measure and helped us reach out to other voters to give their support.
- Our partners in the Transportation Equity Allied Movement Coalition (TEAMC). SVBC has been working on the plan for this measure for almost a year as part of 28 other local non-profits in a variety of sectors. Together, we influenced the policy and funding allocation in the measure, educated and involved residents, and campaigned to pass the measure. It was an excellent collaboration on common principles and a great way to reach a large swath of stakeholders.
- The many staff members of SamTrans who worked diligently on public outreach over the past year and made sure the measure reflected community desires.
- The SamTrans Board and particularly Board Chair Charles Stone who shepherded the community and staff through this long and detailed process.
Together, TEAMC and SamTrans collected thousands of surveys and hosted community meetings with constituencies throughout the county to help craft the expenditure plan. TEAMC organizers also got out the vote, phone banked, canvassed at farmers’ markets and Caltrain/BART stations, and campaigned on social media. Over 100 volunteers reached tens of thousands of voters in the weeks leading up to the election. These efforts to get out the vote were critical: Measure W, which needed a 2/3 majority, passed by a mere fraction of a percentage point.
Measure W includes over 50% for SamTrans to increase frequencies on core bus routes and expand hours of service as well as to improve first- and last-mile connections between jobs, homes, and transit. In addition to improvements in the bus system, the measure includes Caltrain upgrades and improvements to better connect the County to the rest of the region. Funding will also be allocated to fill in the gaps and update facilities for people walking and biking. Sustainable transportation improvements represent at least two-thirds of the funding in the measure.
One of the biggest successes for TEAMC is the inclusion of strong core principles in the measure. This includes a Complete Streets policy that will ensure projects funded through the measure consider how everyone benefits from the project, no matter their mode. Roadway spending can also be used for programs to move more people in fewer cars. Finally, there will be an independent oversight committee and a strategic planning process that prioritizes community input to guide spending moving forward.
Looking ahead, SVBC and TEAMC will be following the strategic planning process and creation of the independent oversight committee to ensure that the full potential of Measure W is realized. We’re excited to continue partnering with SamTrans and other stakeholders to ensure that community needs and values guide Measure W’s investments moving forward. Stay tuned in the new year.