The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to place a transportation sales tax increase measure on the November ballot, a measure that failed by a small number of votes two years ago.
If approved by voters on Nov. 4, more than $8 billion in funds will be available over the coming years for projects that proponents say will create 150,000 new jobs.
Supervisors said the measure would fund transportation improvements within every city throughout Alameda County over the next 30 years.
"The Transportation Expenditure Plan is the culmination of significant collaboration between our agency, numerous civic organizations and the general public to develop a plan that improves all forms of transportation throughout Alameda County," said Scott Haggerty, Alameda County supervisor and chairman of the Alameda County Transportation Commission.
"A smooth-flowing transportation network is absolutely critical in supporting Alameda County's economic vitality," added Supervisor Keith Carson, chairman of the East Bay Development Alliance. "Better roads and transit will attract businesses and will help the flow of goods and services."
Transportation priorities to be addressed if the measure is approved would, according to proponents:
Create jobs within Alameda County by requiring local contracting that supports residents and businesses in Alameda County.
Provide traffic relief, including funds to every city in the county to repave streets, fill potholes and upgrade local transportation infrastructure. It would also invest in aging highway corridors to upgrade on and off ramps, using modern technology to manage traffic and improve safety.
Expand BART, bus and commuter rail for reliable, safe and fast services, including BART expansion and improvements within Alameda County, bus service expansion and commuter rail service improvements.
Keep fares affordable for seniors, youth and people with disabilities, including senior shuttles, vans and services, and funding for student transit passes.
Expand bike and pedestrian paths for greater safety and convenience throughout the county.
A new report, titled "In the Fast Lane: Improving Reliability, Stabilizing Local Funding, and Enabling the Transportation Systems of the Future in Alameda County" by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, notes that "well-functioning transportation systems are critical to economic competitiveness" and that the measure going to voters in November would invest in current and future transportation needs.
"Investing in Alameda County's transportation system means investing in Alameda County's future prosperity," said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council.
"The 2014 Transportation Expenditure Plan outlines a bold and necessary vision for Alameda County," he added. "With its focus on expanding and modernizing BART, fixing roads and highways, and providing transit programs for youth and seniors, the Transportation Expenditure Plan will help make Alameda County a place where businesses of all shapes and sizes want to start, stay and grow."
"And it will make it easier for all Alameda County residents to get where they need to go safely and efficiently," he said.
At a press conference Tuesday, a number of notable county and transportation leaders, including Haggerty, Carson and Wunderman, pledged theiR strong support for the Transportation Expenditure Plan and its supporting measure.
They were joined by Elsa Ortiz of the AC Transit board of directors and an Alameda County transportation commissioner, and Tom Blalock, also a county transportation commissioner and a member of the BART board of directors.
A half-cent Alameda County Transportation sales tax was first approved by 81.5% of county voters in 2000.