OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The greater Bay Area has some of the worst traffic in the nation. Now one group is proposing a ballot measure that would provide a $100 billion solution.
The “Faster Bay Area” measure measure is sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Bay Area Council and the regional planning think tank SPUR. They want a measure on the November 2020 ballot to get voters to approve the $100 billion tax that would spread over 40 years to rebuild and coordinate all the transits agencies in the Bay Area.
“What we are proposing is a one percent increase in the sales tax on purchases of items in order to pay for large scale transportation improvements,” explained John Grub, Chief Operating Officer for the Bay Area Council.
The $100 billion expected from this proposal will upgrade BART, regional trains and ferries. BART General Manager Robert Powers says he knows just where to put the money: an additional Transbay Tube
“The under pinning’s of that measure really needs to be the second crossing of that tunnel,” said Powers. “And that is not only a BART facility running through there, but also standard gauge. So you could have Capitol Corridor running through there, you could have Caltrain running through there. Not just BART.”
But getting this on the ballot requires all nine Bay Area counties to agree to the idea. That is not going to be easy. After all, it took 20 years to complete the Bay Bridge, and that was when everyone already agreed it needed to be done.
Voters KPIX 5 spoke with were skeptical.
“$100 billion strikes me pretty hard,” said one driver.
“That would be helpful, but, if people around the Bay Area are just gonna mess it up, that sucks,” said another.
“That is a large, very large number,” weighed in a third commuter.
Grub with the Bay Area Council remains optimistic.
“Nowhere is it written that the Bay Area always has to have the second worst traffic in the country and the fifth worst traffic on the planet,” said Grub. “Other regions have, other grown up regions deal with this stuff. And we can deal with it too” said Grub.
The $100 billion tax proposal is not yet qualified for the November 2020 ballot.