I was originally of two minds on the Regional Measure 3 bridge toll hike that passed on Tuesday. On the one hand increasing the tolls might drive down the traffic from the East Bay that makes 92 and 101 a mess during the daily commute, but the ballot opposition by local transit expert Pat Giorni (and others) convinced me to vote against it--to no avail as it passed. So now that we are stuck with it, let's post for the record what we are supposed to get from the MTC with all of this new money (~$4.5 billion). The DJ notes:
In San Mateo County, the measure was approved by about 54 percent, slightly under regional totals. The measure was most popular in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, where it was approved by 65 and 61 percent of voters, respectively, while Contra Costa and Solano were the two counties to reject the measure with 45 and 31 percent of voter approval, respectively, according to early results.
Linda Koelling, a former Foster City mayor leading the San Mateo effort against RM3, said the measure won’t even come close to curing congestion. “It doesn’t provide a timeline or framework for any performance measures,” she said. “Most of these projects aren’t even shovel-ready and who decides whose project comes first or second? I have no confidence in whoever put this together in their ability to plan and prioritize projects.”
The projects are:
- Expansion of BART’s fleet for $500 million and extension of BART service to San Jose for $375 million
- $300 million would fund the express lanes project, which would add two additional lanes with tolls to Highway 101 from Whipple Road to Interstate 380 in San Mateo County
- Another $300 million would be dedicated to enhanced ferry service
- $325 million would extend Caltrain to downtown San Francisco
- $50 million would be allocated to work on the Highway 101/State Route 92 interchange.
- Twenty-five percent of revenue will be allocated for transit operations annually.
Based on history, Ms. Koelling would appear to have a realistic view of the MTC's project management and governance weaknesses. But we all pay up anyway. Let's check back in 3-5 years and see if any of this really happened or the billions just vanished into the bureaucratic maw.