Regional Measure 3

Don Gosney


Have you heard the news? Traffic in the 9 county Bay Area is getting out of control.  On some days, getting to work, going shopping, or any other trip from Point A to Point B can be the source of great exasperation, frustration and a lot of wasted time.

To alleviate some of these problems, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission partnered with the State Legislature to place on the ballot Regional Measure 3.  With the exception of the Golden Gate Bridge, this measure will gradually increase the tolls paid on all seven bridges in the 9 county Bay Area.

From the RM3 web site:

“If approved by a majority of voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties, toll revenues would be used to finance a $4.45 billion slate of highway and transit improvements in the toll bridge corridors and their approach routes.

Major projects in the RM 3 expenditure plan include new BART cars to accommodate growing ridership; extending BART’s Silicon Valley service to Santa Clara; extending Caltrain to downtown San Francisco; expanding S.F. Muni’s transit vehicle fleet; more frequent transbay bus service; interchange improvements in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties; an expanded express lane network; expanded ferry service; a direct freeway connector from northbound U.S. 101 in Marin County to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge; upgrades to relieve congestion in the Dumbarton Bridge corridor; improving State Route 37; extending the new SMART rail system to Windsor and Healdsburg and much more. 

Voter approval of RM 3 would raise tolls on the region's state-owned toll bridges by $1 beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Tolls would rise by another $1 in January 2022 with another $1 increase in January 2025. This would mark the first toll increase on the seven state-owned bridges since 2010.”

The campaign to promote the ballot measure was financed by numerous tech businesses located in Silicon Valley.  There was no organized effort to defeat the measure.

Concerns were expressed, most prominently by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, about where the funds would go and whether the benefits would disproportionately benefit the people in Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties even though the cost of Regional Measure 3 would be borne more by commuters farther north.

Most of the Silicon Valley workers live near Silicon Valley and would not be using any of the bridges on a regular basis.  The same can be said about those living in San Francisco who either work in the South Bay or directly in San Francisco—neither of which would need to use any of the bridges.

Even commuters living in Marin County, if they need to use a bridge, would use the Golden Gate Bridge—which is exempt from Measure 3.

Support of Regional Measure 3 was disproportionate in those areas where the cost would not affect them while the benefits would.

Those commuting from Solano, Sonoma and Napa Counties are less likely see any advantages from extended BART trains (when they can't get to the BART stations), ferry service, Caltrains and MUNI busses.

There are still a lot of ballots yet to be counted but the yes votes outnumber the no votes by a margin of 54% to 46%—seemingly unbeatable.



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