Officials Seek New Transit Tax | County, SamTrans Discuss Sales Tax Hike as Regional Transportation Efforts Heat Up

July 17, 2017

Daily Journal
By Samantha Weigel

Traffic and potholes — these widespread Bay Area problems are a commuters’ nemesis and on the top of San Mateo County voters’ minds, according to a new poll.

Now, San Mateo County leaders and transit officials are looking to 2018 for a possible sales tax hike to help fund local transportation projects. But first, they’ll need to convince voters.

The Board of Supervisors met Tuesday for a study session on a recent poll they commissioned to test the efficacy of a ballot measure to fund transit infrastructure and congestion relief efforts. 

The measure, which would be a joint effort between the county and the San Mateo County Transit District, is expected to involve a half-cent sales tax increase. But it may not be the only funding mechanism fresh on residents’ minds. The Legislature’s Senate Bill 1 will have drivers paying more gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, and the nine-county Metropolitan Transportation Commission is looking to increase bridge tolls by up to $3.

Still, advocates have noted the gas tax hike is directed toward a backlog of state and local road repairs, while proceeds from the MTC’s proposed Regional Measure 3 will be in high demand throughout the Bay Area counties. Plus, with billions of dollars in unfunded transportation and congestion relief projects, county officials are hoping to highlight a need for a multi-faceted solution that includes a new locally-controlled revenue stream.