Governor Brown signed off on Assembly Bill (AB) 1613, allowing the San Mateo County Transit District the authority to seek increased resources to support the community’s needs and shared vision for transportation in San Mateo County.
AB 1613, authored by Assembly member Kevin Mullin, gives the District the authority to place a sales tax of no more than one-half percent before voters to fund specific projects laid out in an expenditure plan. The ballot measure would require concurrence from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and approval from two-thirds of county voters. The District and the County are collaborating to launch a community engagement process this fall that will ensure that the expenditure plan is informed by, and reflects the priorities of San Mateo County residents.
Transportation improvements in San Mateo County are currently funded through an existing ½-cent sales tax, but additional revenue will be needed to address unprecedented local traffic congestion.
Existing revenues are being used to support a host of major multimodal improvements throughout the County. Improvements to highway interchanges are taking place at Highway 92 and El Camino Real, and at Highway 101 and Willow Road; Caltrain Electrification is under construction; a project to separate the Caltrain tracks from 25th Avenue in San Mateo is scheduled to begin this month, and nearly 40 shuttles are operating throughout the county, relieving congestion caused by local commutes. Opportunities to maximize congestion relief are being planned, but moving forward with those investments will require additional resources. These plans include projects that would add managed lanes and express bus service to Highway 101, relieve local traffic by separating the Caltrain tracks from the most busy streets and road crossings, provide the Coastside with more frequent bus connections to Caltrain and BART, address congestion related to the Dumbarton corridor with a comprehensive set of solutions and much more.
“With local traffic hitting record numbers, transportation and congestion relief has truly become a quality of life issue for everyone in San Mateo County,” said the District’s CEO Jim Hartnett. “We encourage all San Mateo County residents to make their voices heard so we can build a transportation network that can accommodate future growth and help us all spend less time commuting and more time enjoying the destination.”
“San Mateo County is well known for its collaborative efforts between local agencies,” said Mullin. “AB 1613 supports that collaboration by providing the option for SamTrans to serve as the lead agency responsible for drafting and implementing the expenditure plan for a future transportation sales tax measure in addition to the Board of Supervisors. I believe this added flexibility will serve the county and our residents well.”
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.
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