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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ...  (More)

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I am Voting Yes on Measure B the Sales Tax for Transportation

Uploaded: Sep 24, 2016
Santa Clara County Measure B proposes a half-cent increase in the sale tax to raise approximately $6.3 billion for transportation investments over the next 30 years. The proposal includes $2.7 for improving our roads and interchanges and fixing potholes, $1.5 billion for a BART extension, $1 billion for Caltrain improvements and grade separation, $750 million for bike programs and programs for low income, senior and disabled residents and $350 million to study adding transit to Highway 85.

Long negotiations turned Measure B into a triple bottom line investment, good for the economy, the environment and equity.

The environmental benefits are easy to understand. Pollution and GHG emissions are reduced by taking some cars off the road and reducing delays and stop and go driving for the remaining drivers. Expanded public transit service also supports developments around transit stations that can reduce auto commuting and increase walking and biking.

The main economic impacts of Measure B proposals include cost savings to drivers and benefits to workers and companies from expanded access to jobs from increased public transportation capacity.

There is data to estimate the benefits to drivers. The cost savings for drivers fall into two main categories—1) money saved from reduced damage costs from bad roads and 2) time savings and reduced frustration from congestion and delays.

AAA estimates that nationally potholes cost drivers $300 a year and those costs must be higher here. There are over 1.3 million cars registered in Santa Clara County. If we only count 1 million cars, the annual savings from fixing potholes would be at least $300 million, which is more than annual Measure B spending over the 30 years of the tax. Measure B will provide a portion of these benefits.


The amount and cost of delays in our county are large and growing. Measure B will help drivers by allowing some of them to take transit and by improving interchanges and fixing potholes that contribute to more stop and go driving. The Texas Transportation Institute tracks delay data for 101 urban areas including the San Jose metro area—Santa Clara County. Their latest data is for 2014 though it must be worse now given the strong job growth in 2015 and 2016.

In 2014 the average commuter here spent 67 hours stuck in traffic up from 59 in 2010. And the annual cost of delay was $1,422 up from $1,253 in 2010. The cost of delay for all commuters was $2.2 billion in 2014, the largest delay time and highest cost per commuter for comparable size areas in the nation. Measure B will help reduce delays.

The remaining funds go to improving non car transportation options. Most of these programs help take potential drivers off the road, improving their choices but also reducing congestion for the remaining drivers.

Other economic impacts are real but harder to measure. These include better access to jobs for workers and better access to workers for employers. The two recruitment challenges most mentioned by employers are the high cost of housing and long auto commutes that make it harder to attract workers. Expanded public transportation options on BART and Caltrain improve connections between employees and employers. They also provide incentives for development around stations that improve job, housing and shopping access.

Even though I have never driven (my eyesight makes me unsafe to drive), I find the cost and time savings for people who do drive a compelling economic argument in support of Measure B. And that goes on top of the other economic, environmental and equity benefits of the proposed Measure B projects.

Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by EllenU85, a resident of another community,
on Sep 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Two goals of the Palo Alto TMA are - (1) lower SOV trips, and (2) share rides.

Two ways to play are - (1) share Uber, Lyft, and taxi rides, and (2) order on line and have stuff delivered.

SAVE A TRIP - SPARE THE AIR - and vote YES for Measure B.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Eric Rosenblum, a resident of Downtown North,
on Sep 24, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for the analysis, Steve


 +   51 people like this
Posted by Jared, a resident of Waverly Park,
on Sep 25, 2016 at 11:14 am

If this measure passes, sales tax will go up to 9.25%. Is there no limit to this madness?


 +   39 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Sep 25, 2016 at 6:56 pm

NO MORE TAXES.

Clean up wasteful, needless spending to free up taxpayer dollars for these sort of projects. And no bond measures for this sort of nonsense either. That's a tax.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE B AND POOR SPELL CHECKING IN EMBARCADERO MEDIA BLOG HEADLINES.


 +   20 people like this
Posted by Eric, a resident of Community Center,
on Sep 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

I'll be voting no. The BART to/in San Jose project is already feeding off two currently in effect sales tax measures, and this measure would have almost certainly failed if the myriad of non BART items had not been added to the measure at the last minute. Voters are pretty fed up with the spiraling cost of this project, AND, do not forget that if approved, this does not finish the BART project. BART will need an additional $4.7B (likely much more when the time comes) to tunnel the last few miles of the BART extension under downtown San Jose. Isn't that figure approximately the cost to tunnel trains under Palo Alto that has been dismissed as impossible goal? I applaud the other useful projects included in the measure, but lumping them with a poison pill, BART funding seemingly in perpetuity, is a sleazy, but standard politics I suppose. I am also disturbed that a large part of the justification for this project is VTA's double digit decline in ridership over the past few years. VTA says their ridership will swell, only if BART comes to San Jose. Maybe, maybe not. I have only heard what VTA has to say about that, and of course, their answer is entirely predictable. VTA seems to conveniently leave out the part where their ridership in general all over the county is quite poor, as evidenced by their very poor fair box recovery, which is among the lowest, if not the lowest, in the area. Of course VTA has reasons why this is, but 'we are poorly run' isn't on their list. Sorry, BART has been at the tax feeding trough too long in Santa Clara County.

Unrelated, but aggravating Bay area mass transit, it's long past time for the county mass transit fiefdoms to be dissolved and merged into one integrated, thoughtful, cost effective Bay Area mass transit agency. The high cost for people who need to change transit agencies to get where they are going is a very real, and very effective barrier to many people who do not use mass transit here.


 +   22 people like this
Posted by Midtown, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 25, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Can you hear the sucking sound of BART??? This whole thing is just a cover for sucking more money for BART. Once they get the money, BART will suck it all up and they will be back for more pot hole money next time around. Pot holes are ever popular to fix. Just like high speed rail where they said it would only cost $10 Billion and after it was passed they said it was authorized for $67 to 92 billion of the taxpayers' money. Just because 52% of the folks voted for it they could spend any amount they wanted on it... Beware. Vote NO.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by grade separtion, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 25, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Any idea whether grade separation would be enacted in any of the 3 Palo Alto Caltrain Stations if Prop B passes?


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Patrick Burt, a resident of Community Center,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 8:34 am

Patrick Burt is a registered user.

@Grade Separation
Yes, $700M of the measure is dedicated to the seven grade separations between Sunnyvale and Palo Alto of which four are in Palo Alto. This allocation was a major achievement for our city and for the Caltrain system. This is the first major funding for these separations and would be the foundation for getting them done.
In addition, $300M is allocated for other Caltrain improvements in Santa Clara County.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Thanks Pat and thanks for your hard work on transportation.

I do nor mind funding for BART it will help many workers and employers and take cars op off the road.

As the mayor said, the funding package combines many interests.

It helps people in Palo Alto and lots of others, I applaud everyone who worked to make this possible. We all talk about improving transportation infrastructure, here is s chsnce


 +   17 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:08 pm

For decades I have dutifully voted in favor of taxes for transit. Not this round.

There is no goid reason to pay more to run noisy high carbon emission buses that carry very, very few riders. Count the passengers in 35 as it goes by your building (hint: it's very easy--and a safe bet--to count to zero).

Sales taxes are famously highly regressive. They put their greatest burden on people in the lowest income brackets. No economist with a progressive social bent would recommend them.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:24 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Hi Curmudgeoon,

As far as progressives go, the South Bay Labor Councik and I support B. Am going to meeting but will find other progressives in support. Think you are wrong on that point.

I do not like empty buses but more buses are not the focus of this measure. Look at my blog or the Envision SV website for funding list.

Sales taxes in some areas are mildly regressive but the project helps low income residents and VTA added $500 million for additional help to these groups.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:41 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Other measure b endorsements

Santa Clara county Democratic Party and league of conservation voters snd league of women voters.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Yes, yes, yes. Names, names, names. Dangle a fashionable proposition in front of certain "progessive" groups and they go total gaga over it; its impacts on their supposed constituencies forgotten for the moment.

Why isn't this proposal structured as a tax on the business entities that concentrated the jobs that created the transportation mess? They will be the major beneficiaries of any solution. And they have the money. Gobs of money. Seems much fairer to all.

Why make the parents supporting their family on $24,000 per year pay the same additional sales tax on a pair of shoes as parents raking in $240,000 or $2,400,000?

A "mildly" regressive tax, even if actually mild, is a regressive tax. Any "progresdives" supporting same needs to rethink either their position on the tax or the position they claim on the political spectrum.

Spotted any passengers on the 35 yet?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by MAS, a resident of another community,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:25 pm

I think you can blame city leaders for the concentration of jobs. The county electeds in the north want/expect the south to provide the housing for their jobs. San Jose in turn expects Alameda County to do it which is why they want BART.

We need real planning that incorporates housing, jobs and transportation as the three legs of the stool. Separate housing from jobs and you create transportation demand.

We should be grateful that residents of Mountain View are demanding more housing, but what about residents in other cities demanding a more equitable balance?

Will the residents in Santa Clara step up to stop the massive office growth there fueling 101 traffic?

Is Cupertino looking to increase its housing supply or just planning to fill the old Apple buildings with more jobs once the new site comes online?


 +   21 people like this
Posted by Dan, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:57 pm

I'll not be voting yes for another BART extension sales tax increase. They will use this measure to divert other funding towards BART, plus the fraction explicitly ear-marked for BART. Enough for BART till the current BART sales taxes expire.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by chris, a resident of University South,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 5:14 pm

The bitter about BART group complains that the sales tax is regressive. That is an issue but it is more than offset by the extreme progressivity of CA income tax and the Prop 13 cap on property taxes.

Let's get BART done and then work on getting funding for further improving transportation on the Peninsula.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Two things.

With VTA backing out of service for the north county, anyone voting yes will only be helping traffic miles away from us.

I would in the past have preferred to see a tax on gas to help transportation. However, with so many electric vehicles and hybrids this idea now would be more of a hardship to those who can't afford to buy an electric vehicle.

Sales tax is a big problem too. We are always looking at sales tax as a possibility of raising revenue for something. But at what time is enough is enough. Is 15% the highest it can go? Or 20%? or 25%? With so many necessities such as diapers (baby and adult), toilet paper, soaps and hygiene products, children's clothes and school supplies all being taxed at point of sale, there is a big problem here if it keeps on being raised. Perhaps we should have a luxury rate but once again, how do we look on any item and make a call as to whether it is a luxury or not?

I approve of taxation to pay for transportation, but I am unsure of the best method. Transportation has to be subsidized by all of us, but it has to be something that we can all benefit from. If VTA reduces service in Palo Alto then there is absolutely no benefit for anyone living here unless they commute to San Jose or surrounding.

Sorry, this one doesn't do it for me.



 +   13 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Sep 27, 2016 at 6:11 am

mauricio is a registered user.

This progressive would support this tax if its were levied on the businesses that have caused this traffic mess. Individuals shouldn't pay more taxes for corporate malfeasance. I'm voting NO.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by BUS-ONLY LANES NEXT, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:06 am

If Measure B passes and the VTA need not consult voters further, the VTA will do whatever it likes. Get ready for the bus-only lanes on the left on El Camino. And toll lanes - then toll roads - everywhere.


 +   21 people like this
Posted by Roy, a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch,
on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Quite simply, NO! Enough is enough.


 +   12 people like this
Posted by Bad tax, a resident of another community,
on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm

This is a very bad tax. Among other things, it's designed to get around the
constitutional requirement for a 2/3 majority before raising taxes. They are dancing around the idea of a specific purpose for the money, and trying to have it both ways.

The big problem with this is paying to put Bart UNDERGROUND after the scheduled and already paid completion of the track to Berryessa. BART is coming to San Jose. They want more money to put it underground in downtown San Jose. Yet the high speed rail will be the cheaper above ground construction.

Vote No on a stated intent to subsidize the city of San Jose.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Nope. Bus-only lanes for our "Grand Boulevard" initiative on what's been called our "very own Champs-Elyssee" What ridiculous grandiose rhetoric from our hyper-growth crowd.

How about "right=sizing" the buses?? We've got empty buses that are too wide for their lanes with blacked out windows backing up traffic to wait for non-existent passengers. (Check out Middlefield.) We've got increasing gridlock which leads to road rage.

Like an increasing number of people, I'm real tired of the hyper-growth rhetoric that lacks commons sense or an awareness of cause-and-effect and that reflects the community input even though we spend a fortune on "community outreach" only to have the community ignored

I've yet to see a simple transportation project completed in a way that reflects community input and/or common sense. Or in a timely fashion.

Vote NO.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Sep 27, 2016 at 11:34 pm

PS: We're also being "taxed" by the new non-profit TMA where we'll pay $1 per carpool trip/$2 a day for commuters to/from Palo Alto for a total of $680 per year.

The TMA also wants us to pay the FULL cost of public transit to/Palo Alto from the commuters' homes in SJ, Milpitas, Fremont, etc. so if the VTA attracts riders they'll be more than covered without the sales tax which is already ridiculously high.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by I_Got_mine, a resident of North Whisman,
on Sep 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm

I'll keep shouting this until some people will get this idea through their thick heads: I VOTED FOR THE ORIGINAL BART TAX TO HAVE A MODERN TRANSIT SYSTEM FOR THE WHOLE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA. THAT MEANS BUYING UP THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC ROW AND GRADE SEPARATIONS WHERE NEEDED!
This CALTRAIN nonsense should not be here and the VTA system wouldn't be here either. 40 years ( two generations ) is the planned and bought for by residents Project that MUST be finished or the money ( with interest ) MUST be remitted back to Santa Clara County taxpayers. Time to take the RED PILL of reality and stop throwing more money at failed projects like BART, THE VTA, AND CALTRAIN. You government agencies must get your act in order before you get any more taxpayer monies of any kind! If you need any examples of Projects to be examples, just look at Denver's RTD system. They had to throw out some of their Board of Directors to finally get taxpayer money spent wisely.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by BART Obsolete, a resident of another community,
on Sep 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Gosh that last poster must be old. BART passed so long ago that it is wearing out. The system is at capacity now. It's not a cost effective technology. The new electric cars on Caltrain will be cutting edge. Caltrain already carries passengers way more
cost effectively than Bart.

Don't pay to put it underground through downtown San Jose. That's a waste of money.


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Portola Al, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:16 pm

NO MORE NEW TAXES!
Government needs to learn to live within its means.
Let the users of mass transit cover the true cost of the services they use.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Oren, a resident of Professorville,
on Sep 29, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Three reasons I'll be voting No on B:

1. Sales taxes are regressive, hurting the poor and middle class. I like the idea suggested in another local paper, taxing the members of Carl Guardino's Silicon Valley Leadership Group. They should pay their fair share for transportation improvements.

2. VTA won't put bus-only lanes on El Camino up for a vote, so I'm voting "No" on B to tell VTA to kill bus-only lanes. It's my way of sending them a message -- don't reduce traffic lanes on El Camino.

3. After the election, they'll find a way to give most of this money for the BART project, which doesn't benefit me in the north county at all. From what I understand, it only takes 7 of the 9 VTA board members to vote to shift more money to BART. Coincidentally, San Jose and Milpitas have 7 votes on VTA.

Vote "no" on Measure B.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Sep 29, 2016 at 1:41 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

The comments so far fall into three categories;

1) People who did not seem to understand what the spending was for

2) People who feel that PA is getting shafted by San Jose and BART and

3) People saying no more taxes.

The blog and the ballot measure carefully explain that the major benefits are to drivers. These include grade separation money for north county (including Palo Alto) grade separations, fixing potholes and unsafe expressway interchanges and taking some drivers off the road through expanded public transit of Caltrain and BART.

So while I do not drive, i see a lot of benefit to drivers in Measure B--time and cost savings and more trips by public transit.

On the second point, first of all San Jose has 1 milion residents while Palo Alto has just under 70,000 so it is reasonable for San Jose to get a larger share of benefits.

But all of the grade separation money goes to north county, thanks in part to Pat Burt's hard work with our neighbors. And we benefit from the Caltrain expansion and all of the benefits to drivers. I think Palo Alto did really well in the final package.

We get grade separation money and better roads and San Jose gets partial funding for a BART extension.

All of us get some environmental improvement compared to the no project alternative.

The package is a compromise and some of the comments feel like "If I don't get everything I want, i am going to take my marbles and go home--kinda like 3rd grade.

Yes it is a tax rate increase. I think we get good value for these dollars. I want to make progress on improving transportation choices, helping drivers and reducing congestion and pollution and am voting yes on Measure B.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by I_Got_mine, a resident of Mountain View,
on Sep 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm

FYI 60 years old this year. Again, if you want to see PROPER electrification of a working transit system, look at what was done to the Denver Metro area. My wife worked in the City and County Building for Denver. Evergreen has an express bus to RTD Light Rail. She had to only walk 500 feet to get to the bus stop and RTD did the rest of the transit to another 650 feet to the City and County Building. If the transit system can provide a similar service, then it WILL reduce the car drivers on the highway.My main concern is too many empty VTA trains I see. That means wasting taxpayer dollars. I still think a wye on the East side of 101 at Ellis Street would allow VTA to serve the North side and the Googleplex on the East side of highway 101. No more " trains to nowhere with no passengers " which I've seen many times.
For my vision of transit, I was voting for the BART tax because even though BART was an expensive solution, that would make the SFBA MORE sophisticated than the common " ring Interstate Highways " other cities have. Passenger service is always a money sink for Rairoads and that is why we have Amtrak. S to me, it was a no-brainer to have BART take over the existing Right of Way and get rid of Diesel-Electric engines ( which can be turned into catenary powered engines by removing the Diesel engine and fuel tanks ). Instead of doing what I paid for, ( grade separations are a must for BART and RTD Light Rail ), I see this CALTRAIN monstrosity, wasting MY investment instead and only now considering electrification?? BART would have eliminated the closing of Castro/Moffett with overhead grade separation and many of the Alma and Central Expressway problems too. We used to have ONE agency to deal with and NOW WE HAVE THREE pi$$ing away my investment for the future with the " BART TAX " of 40 years ago?

To use an impression that is overused these days: This isn't Rocket Science, gentlemen. The SFBA has MANY Rocket Scientists that could design a better solution instead of the mess created and empire building that VTA and CALTRAIN have created with my money. CALTRAIN should not be here. Finishing what was promised SHOULD be here. Grade separation SHOULD be here. VTA tracks should NOT have a level crossing with barriers and SHOULD HAVE BEEN extended to Shoreline Park.

Everyone now looks at the SFBA as a bunch of people who can't put in a light bulb, much less design a more efficient LED version like the ones made in China's new Silicon Valley. We solved problems ( even little ones ) but now it appears that that element left the building...

A. Blackwell

Scientist
Test Engineer
Network Engineer
Network Security Engineer
Cray Research, Inc.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 29, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Steve.

Look at it this way. For a family who has say a freshman in Gunn who rides the bus to school each day and several younger siblings who will be following in the footsteps, it is hard to tell them to vote for something that will effectively be taking away their method of getting their kids to school over the next say 10 years.

For those living in an area where traffic is already a nightmare and a bus route is being axed due to VTA wanting to concentrate on BART first and last mile options, how does that help motorists in Palo Alto?

Perhaps the parents of the hypothetic family mentioned in the first paragraph have one parent who walks/bikes to a local job and the other parent uses Caltrain or even drives north to a job in say RWC. How would such a family benefit with less cars on the roads of San Jose?

The big problem with this is the fact that regional transportation issues are dealt with in isolation.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Thinker, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 30, 2016 at 1:19 pm

The majority of these discussions focus mostly on CALTRAIN and BART, including some VTA issues. Legitimate complaints have been voiced about the lack of an effective SFBA transportation agency oversight. Currently, we have three major railway transportation projects in consideration for the San Jose to San Francisco artery - CALTRIAN, BART and high speed railway " and we have no decision on either (a) the need for all three competing alternatives or (b) on how to manage their track requirements through the peninsula. I think it is essential to do a more professional coordinated effort, appropriate for 21st century thinking, to resolve these issues before pushing for allocations for any specific project.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Jose issues, a resident of another community,
on Sep 30, 2016 at 3:10 pm

San Jose is a big city, but a lot of the population is in the outlying areas which are well removed from downtown. San Jose is prioritizing its downtown having an UNDERGROUND Bart at the expense of transit service to the majority of that city.

Then again, San Jose is only 50% of the county as a whole, and Bart being UNDERGROUND in San Jose is an economic benefit to a minority segment of a city and no benefit at all to the rest of the county.

We've already subsidized these downtown real estate interests in just bringing Bart into the county in Berryessa. It will work pretty well with this. To access the service the light rail system and the buses need to serve the county overall including Berryessa to downtown. They are gearing up for something to scapegoat if or while there is less interest in Bart than they advertised. Billions have already been spent. Spending billions more is where there is a problem.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Sep 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

"The comments so far fall into three categories;"

You failed to list a major category: Uselessness. VTA has manifestly failed to provide a useful service for Palo Alto, as evidenced by the paucity of VTA bus riders hereabouts.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Mary, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Oct 1, 2016 at 10:56 am

@Curmudgeon - You seem to misunderstand the mindset at work here. The VTA's main purpose is not to provide meaningful alternative transportation to county residents. It's to provide union jobs that translate into votes and money to local politicians. Useful transportation, when it happens, is only a side effect of this main purpose.

If they really cared about useful transportation, don't you think they would have done something about the empty buses clogging our streets you accurately describe - and which have been running around empty for decades in Palo Alto - each piloted by a union driver paying union dues which are forthwith transferred to pro-union politicians? Tribunes of the political class - like Mr. Levy - never meet a tax they cannot support and can always find a reason to justify more taxes whatever the cause and whatever their burden on working class citizens.

Like you, I'm tired of the game and won't be voting for this nonsense any longer.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Roy Mize, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:20 pm

MEASURE B - NO ** Thee is a lot to like in Measure B, but for the first time in 50 years I'm voting NO on a transit tax. For 3 very good reasons: 1 - Despite assurances, there is a high probability that much of the money will be diverted to San Jose BART completion. Do the math for dollars needed for completion and then look at assurances vs what happened on the last tax measure. 2. VTA has done nothing to reduce costs, i.e. why is the Santa Clara extension needed when Diridon Station will be a transit nexus with CalTrain, light rail, BART, AMTRAK, and High Speed Rail; and why is a BART San Jose maintenance yard needed? 3. Electrification will lock CalTrain into an obsolete technology for the next 50 years. Germany has introduced a fuel cell powered commuter train that requires little modification to existing rights-of-way and is more green than electrification. China has also introduced fuel cell engines for freight systems. It's also interesting to note that BART is using Tier 3 and 4 diesel-electric engines on its Contra Costa extension. They get 85% of the benefits of electric engines at 60% of the cost. VOTE NO ON MEASURE B.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Steve Ly, a resident of another community,
on Oct 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

NO on B!

VTA wants to gut North County bus service under its "Network
90" plan at the same time that they're asking voters to approve yet another bump in the sales tax. Santa Clara County residents are already paying three sales taxes to VTA, a permanent 1/2 cent that was approved in 1976, plus the more recent Measures A and B, whose revenues are mostly going down the BART sinkhole.
Plus, we're paying a Vehicle Registration Fee on top of that. Yet this is not enough, they want more tax money to flush down the BART toilet while eliminating local routes.

VTA is asking the voters for a fourth sales tax increase yet they refuse to “value engineer" their expensive projects. There is no reason
that the BART extension needs to duplicate existing bus and train service
between the San Jose and Santa Clara stations. And the proposed Bus Rapid
Transit on El Camino could be constructed at lower cost by eliminating the
dedicated center lanes and converting the curbside lanes to HOV use during peak hours.

Money saved from cutting the “gold plating" from big capital projects could be spent on supporting the bus system, including saving routes threatened under Network 90. Until VTA learns to use its existing resources more
efficiently, vote NO on more taxes.

This tax is being pushed by Carl Guardino and the grossly misnamed "Silicon Valley Leadership Group," whose rich corporate members stand to benefit most from the hugely expensive BART extension. Rather than increasing sales tax A FOURTH TIME, maybe these rich companies need to step up and pay higher corporate tax.

Three pro-transit and environmental groups, BayRail Alliance, the Sierra Club, and Silicon Valley Transit Users are urging a “no" vote on the upcoming VTA sales tax increase. VTA proposes to use Measure B funds to extend BART beyond San Jose Diridon Station to Santa Clara Station, completely duplicating existing Caltrain service. This is a clear example of VTA's poor decision-making. It explains why Caltrain supporters like BayRail Alliance still cannot trust VTA.

The groups believe that the funds to run BART trains between San Jose and Santa Clara would be better used to boost Caltrain frequency to a BART/light rail level of service between Palo Alto and San Jose.

Visit Web Link to read more and join the No on B Campaign.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by EllenU85, a resident of another community,
on Oct 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Long list of arguments against B - you've convinced me - I'll vote NO.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Oct 22, 2016 at 1:10 am

35% Fed income tax,
13% Social security tx
10% State income tax
9.25% sales (consumption tax)
1.25% property tax
------------------
68.5%

Doesn't include misc. taxes, Gas tax etc.

It made sound like hollow retoric but I will work less, produce less, spend less,

I can't take it any more



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Short story writers wanted!

The 31st Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 13, 2017. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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