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Alameda Questions Funding for Regional Transit Plan

By Erica Madison

A skeptical, yet unanimous vote from Alameda City Council approved a transportation sales tax measure for the November 2012 ballot.

The measure increases the current tax from one-half cent to one full cent, and is part of the funding plan for the transportation expenditure plan and for the Sustainable Communities Strategy. It’s a regional plan that seeks to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by building transportation and homes closer to work place cities such as Oakland and San Francisco.

From the start, the City of Alameda has been skeptical of whether the strategy would aid in reducing greenhouse gasses. With the recent reduction in redevelopment funds, questions of funding have been the City Council and the Planning Board’s main concern.

Although the tax measure was approved, Councilmember Lena Tam was concerned with how the funds would be distributed.

“What’s earmarked for Alameda?” council member Tam said. “How are the funds allocated?”

For instance, even though the Alameda County Transportation Commission (CTC) has marked transportation projects such as the I-880/Broadway/Jackson Multi-modal transportation project as fully funded, this project only has half of the $189 million needed to complete it.

According to the CTC, project plans will be fully funded by sales tax money and outside resources. For projects that are not fully funded, the bulk of the money is going to regions with the largest population counts. The CTC’s response was less than satisfactory for the City Council.

The question remains who and how is the money going to be distributed?

According to the CTC, each city has geographical equity built in and this will determine how the funds are distributed. However, this explanation did not satisfy Lena Tam, who made a motion to have a letter written to the County Transportation Commission (CTC) for clarification on how much of the funds each city would receive.

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