The June ballot is filled with initiatives.
While most are tied to specific cities and counties, there is one that everyone in the nine-county Bay Area will be voting on. It’s Regional Measure 3, and it aims to reduce traffic congestion Bay Area-wide.
If the regional measure passes, those who drive across all Bay Area toll bridges except the Golden Gate will pay more. Tolls will go up by $1 in 2019, an additional dollar in 2022, and a third dollar in 2025 to generate $4.5 billion over 25 years.
“We believe people are willing to invest a little bit more to get the traffic out of their way or be able to have public transportation available to them and to other people in the Bay Area,” Bay Area Council COO John Grubb said.
Grubb is one of the main sponsors of the measure.
He says that money will fund about three dozen transportation and public transit improvements throughout all regions of the Bay Area, each one designed to reduce traffic congestion.
“If you’re sick and tired of the traffic situation in the Bay Area, this is our best shot to improve it,” Grubb said. “This is our best list of projects that we could possibly put together.”
The projects include extending BART to San Jose and Santa Clara, 300 additional BART cars, tripling ferry service currently on the bay, completing the expansion of Highway 101 along the Novato Narrows, improvements to the flood-prone Highway 37, and a variety of high way interchanges.
There’s also money for AC Transit and San Francisco Muni.
Some drivers remain skeptical that Regional Measure 3 will reduce the gridlock.
“Planning county-by-county does not work,” David Schonbrunn of Transdef.org said. “It fails on the regional level.”
Schonbrunn is one of the leading opponents of Measure 3. He says only 40 percent of the projects are worthwhile and more focus should be placed on ridesharing.
“This will do nothing whatsoever for congestion,” Schonbrunn said. “What it will do is move politically-favored projects along.”
“I guarantee the answer is yes, it is going to get better if the improvements are made,” Grubb said.
The Bay Area Council points say this is no pork barrel project but one designed by both regional and local traffic engineers with the goal of reducing congestion.
Measure 3 goes before voters in all nine counties in the Bay Area.
All of it needs to pass is a simple majority, 50 percent plus one.
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