There’s one race still up for grabs in the Bay Area: Measure B1, Alameda county’s proposed new transit tax.
This measure would increase the sales tax by a half cent and would raise close to $8 billion for transportation projects in Alameda County. It appears to have lost, but only by the tiniest of margins. To pass, it needs a two-thirds majority, or 66.7 percent of the vote. It got 65.54 percent – just 1 percent short.
Tess Lengyel, Deputy Director of Policy, Public Affairs and Legislation at the Alameda County Transportation Commission, helped develop Measure B1.
“It's just very difficult when we have to reach a two-thirds voter requirement to fund our basic maintenance and operation needs for transportation,” she said.
The measure would fund improvements on freeways and surface streets, as well as public transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure. It would also help extend BART to Livermore. The county’s measure B sales tax already funds some of these things, but it’s less money, and it expires in 2022. B1 would increase total funding, and make the tax permanent.
Chris Pareja is a small business owner and recent congressional candidate from Hayward and opposed B1.
“It looks like with the passage of [Prop] 30 that California and Alameda County voters specifically have voted themselves a full percent tax increase for the county, which is already the highest in the Bay Area,” he said.
In a statement released this afternoon, Lengyel said the final results may not be in for a while: the Alameda County Registrar of Voters doesn’t have to finish tallying absentee ballots until early December.