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Bill would allow Alameda and Contra Costa counties to pursue transportation measures
By Jeff Barbosa
-- The Assembly Local Government Committee approved a bill by Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) on April 3, 2013 that would allow both Alameda and Contra Costa counties to put transportation measures on their ballots to boost investments in local infrastructure projects. AB 210 passed the committee 7-2 with bipartisan support and now heads to the Revenue and Taxation Committee.
“Even though Measure B1 in November 2012 barely came up short of the two-thirds threshold, it showed overwhelming support in Alameda County for investing in our roads, streets, BART and other transportation projects to meet the needs of local residents and businesses,” Wieckowski said. “This bill will give both counties the ability and flexibility to put critical transportation infrastructure projects before the voters. These locally-chosen projects will put people to work and improve our regional transportation network.”
Both Alameda and Contra Costa counties have reached their 2 percent local sales tax cap and cannot put transportation sales tax measures on the ballot without first getting an exemption from the state Legislature. AB 210 would grant both counties the authority to exceed the 2 percent cap, if the voters approve an increase by December 31, 2020.
The bill is supported by the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Contra Costa County Transportation Authority. Contra Costa County is currently developing a 2014 update of its Countywide Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The work plan was expanded in October 2012 to include a significant public input component for outreach, polling and strategic planning to assess future transportation needs in Contra Costa County.
Statewide self-help counties are projected to pump $95 billion into California’s aging transportation infrastructure over the next three decades. Recently, the Report Card on America’s Infrastructure, prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers, gave California a C- for the quality of its transportation infrastructure.
Neither county has determined when they may seek to put a measure on the ballot. Measure B1 received 66.5 percent support from Alameda County voters in November 2012.
AB 210 is co-authored by several East Bay legislators including Assembly Members Rob Bonta, Nancy Skinner, Bill Quirk, Joan Buchanan and Senators Ellen Corbett, Loni Hancock and Mark DeSaulnier.