This is in response to the editorial recommending that voters reject the transportation sales tax.

In November, Alameda County voters will have a one-time opportunity to improve our aging transportation system and support our economy: Measure B-1.

While congestion is increasing and transit demand is on the rise, there are no new funds from Sacramento or Washington, D.C., to help us meet our needs.

The nation's economic downturn has cut deeply into federal and state resources for improving and maintaining Alameda County's roads, bridges, transit, bike trails and sidewalks.

The Federal Highway Trust Fund is going broke and has had to borrow to keep up with authorized transportation expenses across the nation. The decreasing amount of state transportation funding coming to our county has been unreliable and insufficient to pay for basic maintenance and infrastructure needs.

That's why, locally, the Alameda County Transportation Commission brings a new transportation plan for Alameda County that will create jobs, expand mobility and provide critical transportation services to every community in Alameda County.

It does so based on a solid track record of early and effective project delivery and financial accountability.


Advertisement

The $7.8 billion plan, funded by Measure B-1, will improve and update the county's aging highway system; bring our streets and roads into good repair; double transit operating funds; enhance maintenance and provide critical bus and rail capital expansions throughout the county; complete major trails; provide funding to every city for bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements; fund transportation investments to connect housing, jobs and services; and technology to improve transportation system efficiencies and commuter information.

All funds will be safeguarded by annual independent audits, an Independent Watchdog Committee that will report annually directly to the public, strict project deadlines, annual budget setting in public meetings, performance and accountability measures on every contract, and voter approvals every 20 years.

The Alameda CTC has delivered 95 percent of its 27 capital improvement projects approved by the voters in 2000 in 50 percent of the time while leveraging the sales tax dollars fourfold by attracting outside funds. Projects include the 5.4-mile extension of BART to southern Fremont, the BART Oakland Airport Connector project, improvements to the I-238 connector between I-580 and I-880 in Hayward and Castro Valley -- a major Bay Area freight corridor, maintenance and operation funds for every transit operator in the county, including for seniors and people with disabilities.

Without local dollars, these projects would not have been built within the foreseeable future and the jobs created by these investments would not have been realized.

Over the past 10 years, $495 million of local sales tax dollars have been pumped directly back into Alameda County businesses, supporting the local economy and creating local jobs.

The county's transportation sales tax is a reliable and effective way to maintain and improve our transportation system and has been supported by every city in the county, the Board of Supervisors, environmental, business, labor, faith-based and social justice organizations.

Measure B-1 is a one-shot deal to support our future. By helping ourselves, we support local jobs, invest in every community and all the money stays in Alameda County -- it cannot be taken by the state.

We cannot lose sight of the critical importance of continuing to improve, maintain, and support our vital transportation networks. People's jobs -- and our county's economic vitality and strength -- depend on it.

Mark Green is mayor of Union City and chairman of the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Scott Haggerty is Alameda County Supervisor of District 1 and ACTC vice chairman. Nate Miley is president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.