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Approval of $7.7 Billion Transportation Tax Measure Delayed by Alameda City Council

By Erica Madison

Alameda County Transportation Commission presented their thirty year one-cent tax proposal to Alameda City Council on Tuesday March 20, 2012, but Alameda City Councilmember Lena Tam pushed to delay the council’s decision, citing “a lack of education” as the reason.

The Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) wants to update measure B again. Currently, Measure B is a half cent transportation tax and by 2022 it should raise $1.4 billion. The newly formed ACTC has joined the call for higher taxes this year, by asking for a one-cent tax, which will generate $7.7 billion by 2040. The funds will go towards improving transportation in Alameda County. This new Measure B, if approved by the council, will go before voters in November.

The ACTC told City Council that they have done several workshops, and a telephone survey showed that 79% of voters will support a one-cent tax. But follow up questions from councilmember Lena Tam revealed that this survey and none of these workshops were conducted in Alameda or surveyed any Alameda citizens.

“I went to a meeting in Oakland that was not very well attended,” Tam said. “I would like to have more than one meeting before we approve this.”

Tam was concerned that Alameda citizens have not had the opportunity to learn about the amendments to Measure B and neither had the council. Tam also voiced concerns over the fact that this 1 cent tax would be in “perpetuity.”

For all of these reasons, Alameda City Council decided to delay their decision to approve Measure B until May 16. Unfortunately, the ACTC already has the approval of eight cities, which is more than enough to meet their majority approval criteria. Providing a presentation to Alameda City is merely a formality, because they would like to have all cities on board.

 

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