Once again, the special interests want County residents to subsidize highway expansion by paying for it from a sales tax, instead of a gas tax or non-stop toll collection — the most direct user-pay method. Anything subsidized is encouraged, so this subsidy would soon restore the congestion that was there before the highway construction.
For example, despite their promise to provide “traffic relief” in 1984, VTA’s brand new State Route 85 took just two years for the traffic jams to return. That’s because the subsidy for car commuting encourages people to buy new tract housing in south San Jose, while working in North County (Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto). Nobody benefits except the special interests wanting more car commuters from further away.
The mailed propaganda I received shows a photo of a bicyclist. In reality, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (I call them Leaderless Group) throws crumbs at bicyclists, pedestrians and transit patrons in order to mislead them and get votes to pass they subsidy for more car commuting. That’s because the public supports non-polluting transportation much more than paying for freeway and expressway expansion. The special interests have always refused to have two separate tax measures: one for highways (which would probably fail) and the other for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit (which would probably pass).
This is extortion! You can only vote for non-polluting transportation if you also vote to increase air pollution by huge highway expansion and road subsidies, which total over $3 Billion in VTA’s poorly-conceived Measure B.
VTA claims that Measure B will pay for rapid bus or rail transit in the center median of State Route 85, but is really pushing behind the scenes to widen the highway for more traffic lanes.
Regarding promises of the BART extension to San Jose and Caltrain electrification: The funding for both of these was already approved by the voters and the state legislature and federal funding sources. This is another trick VTA uses to get votes for their desired highways: they claim the measure would fund something that the public wants and is good, but which is already funded.
The Sierra Club opposes Measure B and I hope you will also.