Nearly three-quarters of county voters would support creating new local sales tax revenue to invest in countywide public transportation and traffic congestion solutions, according to a recent public opinion poll conducted by the County of San Mateo and the San Mateo County Transit District. The results show that support has grown by more than eight percent since May 2017, when the County conducted a similar poll, and is high enough to clear the two-thirds voter threshold required to create new sales tax revenues.
The poll was conducted as part of Get Us Moving San Mateo County, a public education and outreach effort led by the County and the Transit District, and was designed to understand how residents would prioritize the investment of new transportation funding. The District’s Board of Directors will review the results at their March 7 meeting where they will also consider continuing the Get Us Moving outreach activities to help inform an eventual decision to put a transportation sales tax investment plan on the November 2018 ballot. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will consider the same issue at their March 13 meeting.
“It’s no surprise that more and more residents want to invest in transportation solutions,” said Charles Stone, Chairman of the District’s Board of Directors. “Traffic congestion is the number one issue facing San Mateo County residents. It poses a constant and increasing threat to our quality of life, and before we ask taxpayers to invest in solutions, we better make sure we understand their priorities.”
Get Us Moving San Mateo County launched last year after the Governor signed legislation by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, which allows the District Board of Directors and the County Board of Supervisors to ask voters to raise new sales tax revenues for transportation solutions.
Get Us Moving has effectively engaged thousands of residents in the discussion about how to invest new transportation revenues. Since November 2017, more than 13,000 residents have participated in the effort by responding to online and mailed-in surveys, or attending one of the dozens of public meetings held throughout the County. Feedback collected through these efforts shows that residents are most interested in addressing congestion on the County’s highways and streets, repairing local roads, and maintaining and expanding transit services like SamTrans and Caltrain.
The poll confirms these findings with over 74 percent of respondents supporting a 30-year measure that invests a new, half-cent sales tax in solutions that reduce congestion, repair roads and improve transit services. Support increases to almost 78 percent after respondents learned more detail about how potential revenues could be invested.
“These results are a clear sign that our communities are fed up with the transportation gridlock in our county. The good news is that real solutions have been developed, but they all require new investment,” said Dave Pine who is President of the County Board of Supervisors and also a member of the District’s Board of Directors. “We have identified specific strategies for reducing traffic congestion and expanding transit services and programs, and I’m pleased to see that our communities support funding a wide range of transportation solutions.”
The poll was conducted in early February by Godbe Research, a San Mateo-based firm that also conducted the March 2017 poll.
The San Mateo County Transit District is the administrative body for the principal public transit and transportation programs in San Mateo County: SamTrans bus service, including Redi-Wheels paratransit service, Caltrain commuter rail and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. Caltrain and the TA have contracted with the District to serve as their managing agency, under the direction of their boards of directors.