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SMCo. transit tax eyed to prop up ailing BART SFO

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  • 12/9 SMCo. Times
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9 12:32 PM
      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
      Staff Writer

      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
      other projects.

      "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.
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