Today, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved placing a measure on the November 2018 ballot that would invest approximately $2.4 billion from a new half-cent sales tax in a plan designed to relieve traffic congestion in San Mateo County.
Earlier this month, the San Mateo County Transit District Board of Directors took formal action to approve an ordinance finalizing the San Mateo County Congestion Relief Plan, and to adopt a resolution requesting the County Board of Supervisors concur with its decision by placing the new tax on the ballot for voter approval later this year. Today’s vote officially moves the Plan forward.
“San Mateo County residents are tired of the transportation gridlock in our region,” said Dave Pine, President of the County Board of Supervisors and also a member of the District’s Board of Directors. “If this funding measure is successful, our county will be able to invest in a wide variety of transportation solutions that will reduce traffic congestion and provide a diversity of transit options for residents and visitors alike.”
The Plan reflects priorities identified through nine months of extensive outreach to communities throughout the County. Feedback from tens-of-thousands of County residents was used to develop a Plan with five investment categories, eleven core principles, and an independent oversight process to ensure that revenues are invested in accordance with the Plan.
The Get Us Moving San Mateo County community engagement initiative was led by the San Mateo County Transit District and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to develop a community-driven solution to improve mobility, reduce traffic and address complex transportation issues in our county. Since last year, Get Us Moving representatives have received feedback from more than 16,000 San Mateo County residents and have reached hundreds-of-thousands more through direct mail, online surveys, social media, town halls and more than 100 presentations to city councils, businesses, and community groups.
“Today’s vote is the culmination of a lot of hard work by both the San Mateo County Transit District and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors,” said Transit District Board Chair Charles Stone. “The feedback obtained during the Get Us Moving engagement process tells us that this is a strong, smart plan that residents want and will support.”
The Congestion Relief Plan is the product of this community feedback and was developed to reflect how residents think transportation funding should be invested. Throughout the outreach process, public feedback was consistently focused on achieving three priorities:
- Reducing Highway Congestion
- Reducing Congestion on Local Roads
- Increasing and Improving Public Transit Options
The Plan includes five investment categories designed to focus on advancing these priorities, while also addressing other important transportation needs:
- 22.5 percent toward Countywide Highway Congestion Improvements to improve throughput and travel times on highway facilities in San Mateo County.
- 12.5 percent toward Local Safety, Pothole and Congestion Relief Improvements for investment in local transportation priorities including efforts to separate the rail corridor from local roads, improve bicycle and pedestrian connections, incentivize transit options, and improve traffic flow in key congested areas.
- 5 percent toward Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements that safely connect communities and neighborhoods with schools, transit and employment centers countywide.
- 10 percent toward Regional Transit Connections to better connect residents traveling from San Mateo County to neighboring counties with new and enhanced transit options.
- 50 percent toward County Public Transportation System Investments to maintain and enhance bus, paratransit, rail and other countywide mobility services.
Investments in these five categories will be guided by 11 Core Principles that were developed in consultation with a group of more than 100 local transportation experts, advocates and community stakeholders that met regularly throughout the Get Us Moving process. The Core Principles include:
- Relieve traffic congestion countywide
- Invest in a financially sustainable public transportation system that increases ridership, provides quality transit options for everyone, and embraces innovation to create more transportation choices and improves travel experience
- Prioritize environmentally-sustainable transportation solutions
- Promote economic vitality and economic development
- Maximize opportunities to leverage investment and services from public and private partners
- Enhance safety and public health
- Invest in repair and maintenance of existing and future infrastructure
- Facilitate the reduction of vehicle miles traveled, travel times and greenhouse gas emissions
- Incorporate the inclusion and implementation of policies that encourage safe accommodation of all people using the roads, regardless of mode of travel
- Incentivize transit, bicycle, pedestrian, carpooling and other shared-ride options over driving alone
- Maximize traffic reduction potential associated with the creation of new housing opportunities in high-quality transit corridors
To ensure that the Plan is implemented in a way that reflects these Core Principles, the Plan also includes a new citizen oversight protocol. The protocol requires the appointment of a 15-member independent citizen oversight committee that would meet regularly to monitor decision-making, ensure accountability, and provide assurance that the plan is implemented in a way that stresses public transparency.
Get Us Moving was launched following legislation authored by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, that allows the Transit District Board of Directors and the County Board of Supervisors to ask voters to create new revenues for investment in transportation solutions.
About the San Mateo County Transit District: The San Mateo County Transit District operates 71 SamTrans routes throughout San Mateo County. Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. The San Mateo County Transit District has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.
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