Business groups want the public to pay $100 billion to fix transportation

Our coalition, composed of environmentalists, taxpayer advocates and transit advocates, has seen decades of waste in the region’s transportation spending. We want to prevent the proposed tax* from merely vacuuming up vast amounts of money for the construction industry. A November 2020 timeline is so rushed that there can be no meaningful public process to achieve a consensus plan. We want to ensure that there is a sensible plan that will achieve desirable results, BEFORE a tax goes on the ballot.

We agree that transportation needs a major fix, but the Faster Bay Area proposal, in its current vague state, won’t solve anything. On the one hand,

  • Highways and local roads have far too many cars on them
  • Transit is too difficult to use, because of the nearly 30 different agencies involved.
  • Housing is so expensive that people commute for very long distances, making congestion far worse.

But on the other hand,

  • These business groups have an agenda: to push the cost of fixing transportation onto the public. They don’t want to pay their fair share
  • They have no plan for actually achieving the goals they promote.
  • They are doubling-down on the failed planning strategy of the past: ask local government what they want.
  • There’s actually plenty of money available. The problem is that our governance for transportation, called the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), spends it without a strategy, so things keep getting worse.
  • Any proposal that places MTC in charge of newly raised money is guaranteed to fail miserably, as its performance over the last 37 years amply demonstrates.
  • There are cost-effective methods to address traffic congestion without waiting decades, using existing revenue sources. Faster Bay Area is not that.

*The three major business organizations, Bay Area Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group and SPUR, are attempting to build support for a 1% sales tax called Faster Bay Area. It would raise the phenomenal amount of $100 billion over 40 years. They hope it will appear on the ballot in November of 2020.

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