bay area coalition honored for leadership in passing key regional transportation improvement ballot measure
A bold regional campaign that was led by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Bay Area Council and SPUR and succeeded in passing an ambitious 2018 ballot measure to ease the Bay Area’s grinding traffic and improve regional mass transit is being honored today (June 6) by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
The Bay Area Metro Award honors the work of the three public policy organizations in mounting the campaign to pass Regional Measure 3, which secured 55 percent voter support and will invest $4.5 billion in a wide range of transportation improvement and expansion projects in all nine Bay Area counties. RM3 provides an additional $60 million in annual operating funds for regional ferry and express bus service.
The award will be presented on June 6 at 9 a.m. at ABAG’s General Assembly at the Scottish Rite Temple in Oakland. Accepting the award for the three organizations are Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman, Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino and SPUR President and CEO Alicia John-Baptiste. John-Baptiste is accepting on behalf of former SPUR CEO Gabriel Metcalf.
“This award is a testament to the power of regional partnership in addressing our biggest challenges,” said the Bay Area Council’s Jim Wunderman. “Our regional transportation system is the lifeblood of the Bay Area economy. The investments that RM3 will make over the next 25 years will help ease traffic, grow transit ridership and improve mobility for millions of commuters.”
“The passage of RM3 is a great example of the Bay Area coming together to solve regional concerns,” said Alicia John-Baptiste, President and CEO of SPUR. “The collective commitment of our coalition members and our civic and elected leaders resulted in a successful measure that will support the changes we need for our transportation system to really work for the Bay Area. We are delighted to be recognized with this award.”
“We are honored and humbled to receive this award and work with such dedicated coalition members. As we all know traffic doesn’t respect city or county boundaries. It’s a regional problem requiring regional solutions,” said Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO and President. “That’s why we’re excited to see such impactful results of our working in unison to address highway bottlenecks, expand and modernize BART, bus and ferry transit services, and help commuters make connections between buses, trains and bikes.”
Ahead of the June election, the three groups worked together for over a year in preparing RM3. Beginning in 2017, they worked closely with state Sen. Jim Beall to craft the legislation (SB 595) authorizing MTC and ABAG to place the regional measure on the ballot. They also worked with MTC and transportation and elected leaders around the region to identify the mix of projects that would receive funding.
The campaign raised several million dollars to increase awareness among Bay Area voters about RM3 and highlight the benefits of investing in key transportation infrastructure projects to ease traffic. RM3 also secured the support of almost all Bay Area newspapers, created a broad coalition of supporters and conducted dozens of community meetings.
Some of the critical projects that RM3 is funding include:
- Extending BART to San Jose
- Fixing key highway bottlenecks through improvement to interchanges in Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Marin and Solano counties
- Replacing BART’s aging fleet with next generation rail cars
- Expanding regional ferry and bus service
- Improving and expanding bicycle and pedestrian facilities
Funding for RM3 comes from a $3 increase in tolls on state-owned bridges that is being implemented over six years.