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CalTrain downtown SF extension | Electrification of CalTrain
Since last year, Santa Clara County transportation projects have been in limbo due to the lack of a local funding source. Measures A and B that will appear on the November ballot are intended to fill the void left from the court ruling against the 1992 Measure A transportation sales tax funding program. Peninsula Rail 2000 urges its Santa Clara County members to vote yes on both measures.
The $589 million in transit projects in the 1.1 billion funding package includes $50 million for new CalTrain-like service between San Jose and Alameda County and $68 million for increases in existing CalTrain frequencies. Half-hourly service between Palo Alto and San Jose, reverse commute and weekend service to Gilroy would be provided.
Passage of Measures A and B could also help set the stage for CalTrain electrification. Though only improvements in CalTrain "facilities" are specified in the ballot language, passage of the measures would enable the county to seek matching state and federal funds that could be used for electrification.
Peninsula Rail 2000, like other local organizations, considers better transit and traffic relief vital to the quality of life in the Santa Clara County and the Bay Area. A coalition of civic groups dedicated to this goal devised Measures A and B. Both measures must pass in order to restore a half-cent sales tax for transportation.
Measure A is an advisory measure allowing voters to agree to a specific list of transportation projects: approximately $589 million for transit projects, $446.5 million for roadway projects, and $12 million for bicycle projects.
Measure A specifies that administrative costs will be limited to one half of one percent of generated revenues. It also contains accountability provisions to ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely.
Measure B is a nine-year, half-cent sales tax that would generate revenues for the county's general fund. However, through Measure A, voters specify a preference to spend the revenues towards the list of transportation projects.
The State Supreme Court ruled that 1992 Measure A, which was endorsed by Peninsula Rail 2000, required a Proposition 13-mandated two-thirds super-majority. This was because it constituted a special tax to fund specific projects. A recent unsuccessful court challenge of a pair of ballot measures similar to Measures A and B elsewhere in the state convinced the drafters of A and B that this two-measure strategy will require only simple majorities of "yes" votes on both measures in order for them to take effect.
Last updated: October 24, 1998
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