new report: $15.4 billion in economic impacts from santa clara county transportation plan

Santa Clara County is forecast to realize at least $15.4 billion in new business and economic activity from a 30-year transportation investment plan – Envision Silicon Valley — that calls for completing BART to San Jose, fixing local roads and highways, enhancing transit services for seniors and the disabled and making bicycle and pedestrian improvements, according to a new study the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released today. The transportation plan is also forecast to support almost 4,000 jobs across a wide range of industries, skills and income levels.

The full economic impacts from Envision Silicon Valley are expected to be significantly larger. Improving roads, highways and transit will help ease traffic congestion that puts a major drag on worker productivity. From 2010 to 2014, San Jose experienced the fastest growing traffic congestion of any metropolitan area in the U.S. with the annual number of hours of traffic delay per commuter soaring from 37 to 51 hours, or a 36.8 percent increase. Investing in the county’s transportation system will also help attract new businesses and investment and encourage existing employers to expand locally.

“Investing in transportation is good business and good for the economy,” said Dr. Micah Weinberg, President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “Employees benefit from faster, more convenient commutes. Employers benefit from more productive employees. And the entire county benefits from increased economic activity and investment.”

Read Economic Impacts of Envision Silicon Valley>>

Funding for the plan would come from Measure B, which the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) unanimously placed on the November ballot to address the county’s need for additional investment in its roads, highways and transit systems as the population grows and state and federal funding shrink. The measure, which requires two-thirds voter approval, is estimated to generate $6.3 billion over its 30-year lifetime and will help Santa Clara County attract additional state and federal matching grants and other funding that can further extend its reach.

Envision Silicon Valley calls for investing $1.5 billion to complete the extension of BART to San Jose and Santa Clara, returning $1.2 billion to the county’s 15 cities to do local road and street repairs and upgrades and spending $1.5 billion to improve expressways and highways throughout the county. The plan will put $1 billion toward improving Caltrain, $500 million toward enhancing transit for seniors and the disabled and $250 million to bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Envision Silicon Valley was developed n 18-month public process conducted by the VTA to identify residents’ transportation priorities. Funding for Measure B would come from a half-cent sales tax.

The Economic Institute study found that Envision Silicon Valley is expected to support a total of 118,263 job years over its 30-year duration. That’s the equivalent of 3,942 full-time jobs. Those jobs would come across a wide range of categories, including direct employment in construction, manufacturing and business and professional services. The ripple effect of investment will also support jobs among suppliers, local business and other vendors and extend to jobs that workers support with their spending.

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