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Voters approve local bond initiatives for schools, housing and BART

Measures I1, A1 and RR pass easily in Nov. 8 election

Three local bond measures supporting improved schools facilities, transit infrastructure and affordable housing passed easily in last Tuesday's election.

Pleasanton voters resoundingly approved the school facilities bond Measure I1 with a roughly two-thirds yes vote, according to election night returns. The initiative needed a 55% majority yes vote to pass.

In a statement, Pleasanton Unified School District Superintendent Rick Rubino thanked residents for their support and referred to Pleasanton as "an incredible community."

"We are incredibly grateful for the passage of Measure I1," Rubino said. "I look forward to engaging our community as we move forward to fund projects on the Measure I1 bond project list that will have a profound impact in providing the learning environments that our students deserve."

The passage of Measure I1 imposes a new tax of $49 per $100,000 of assessed value on Pleasanton property owners. PUSD officials expect that to generate about $270 million in revenue that will go toward projects that fall into four categories: modernizations and new infrastructure at a cost of $139 million; safety and security with a roughly $29 million allocation; creating 21st century learning environments including new science and technology facilities for $97.8 million; and energy and water improvements that will cost $10 million.

That spells out funding for a new elementary school, updated middle and high school science labs, improved fire alarm systems and more. The Pleasanton school board approved a final bond projects list in July at the same time it voted to place a bond measure on the General Election ballot.

The school board cannot guarantee the bond will generate enough money to complete all listed projects, according to the ballot measure. Regardless of funding availability, inclusion of a project on the list is not a guarantee that it will be completed, but only projects on the list can be funded by Measure I1 revenue.

The final cost of each project will be determined as plans are finalized and construction contracts awarded.

The district has already begun preparing for bond projects by retaining five architectural firms to help with planning, bidding and construction. Administrators will later decide which projects will be assigned to which firms.

The passage of Measure I1 could make PUSD eligible for state bond revenue, as well. California voters' approval of Proposition 51, the $9 billion public school facilities bond, means PUSD could qualify for state assistance if it provides matching funds.

Regionally, Alameda County voters also supported the affordable housing bond Measure A1, which won with 72% of the vote. It needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Measure A1 will raise up to $580 million in general obligation bonds to provide affordable housing and prevent displacement of vulnerable populations such as low-income households, veterans and seniors.

The money, which will last for 23 years, will pay for acquiring or improving properties, up to 8,500 units of affordable rental housing, supportive housing for homeless people and helping low- and middle-income households buy homes.

Voters in Alameda, San Francisco and Contra Costa counties also voted yes on Measure RR, the $3.5 billion regional bond measure to help improve BART's transit infrastructure.

The measure required a two-thirds majority to win approval and voters in the three counties passed it with 70.1 percent of ballots cast. San Francisco voters passed it with 81.1 percent of the vote, Alameda County voters passed it with 70.8 percent, and just 59.5 percent of Contra Costa County voters approved it, according to election night returns.

"We are grateful for all the Bay Area voters who doubled down on their commitment to transit and to BART," BART board President Tom Radulovich said in a statement Wednesday. "By reinvesting in BART, Bay Area voters said yes to a regional future that's more equitable, sustainable, inclusive, connected and prosperous."

Infrastructure to be improved includes 90 miles of severely worn tracks, water-damaged tunnels and 44-year-old train control systems, among other projects.

Editor's note: Bay City News Service reporting was used in this article.

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