SMCo. transit tax eyed to prop up ailing BART SFO
- Published Tuesday, December 9, 2003, in the San Mateo County Times
Critics irate over plan to keep BART afloat with funding from Measure A
Cries of 'taxation without representation' rise up over plan
By Justin Jouvenal
A transit group is criticizing a plan to possibly pay for the
operation of the BART-San Francisco Airport extension with funds from
a reauthorization of the County's half-cent transportation sales tax.
Citizens for Better Transit said the County should not pay for the
operational funds with Measure A, because it does not have a seat on
BART's board of directors, and the money could be better spent on
"It's taxation without representation," said Bruce Balshone, a
spokesman for CBT. "If they want to appropriate tax money to BART,
why not get some say over how the money is used?"
The current 20-year incarnation of Measure A is set to expire in
2008. County officials hope to place a renewal of the tax, which has
raised $1.2 billion for everything from bike paths to Caltrain
upgrades, on next November's ballot.
The CBT, which includes County officials and environmentalists,
formed in October to criticize the way projects were being selected
to be funded by the new Measure A. They've said the process is not
open enough to the public.
SamTrans has agreed to pay for the operation of the BART extension as
part of the agreement that brought the $1.5 billion extension to the
Peninsula. The current Measure A does not fund the operation of BART.
It's not clear how much SamTrans will pay to operate the BART
extension this year, but officials said it will top the $6 million
they had set aside. The cost has gone up, because BART ridership is
running roughly 40 percent below predictions.
The San Mateo County Transportation Authority will hold a public
hearing on Measure A on Wednesday. The meeting will be from 7 to 9
p.m. at the Daly City Hall, 333 90th St.