One million people reside in the inland East Bay (area code 925), the sections of Contra Costa and Alameda counties east of the Richmond/Oakland/Fremont hills. Since 1978 we have paid a one-eighth percent sales tax (AB 1107) for the sole benefit of the San Francisco Muni and AC Transit systems.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, with nudging from our city councils and county supervisors, must change this unfair arrangement.

For every $16 in taxable purchases here, one penny is sent to MUNI and another cent to AC Transit. The inland East Bay includes 30 percent of the population subject to the tax. Its cities paid 26 percent of tax revenue in 2011. Yet none of the $16.5 million that the inland East Bay contributes each year is returned here.

In contrast, San Francisco accounts for just 24 percent of the population subject to the tax and 29 percent of revenue. Yet the MTC always sends half of the proceeds to San Francisco.

Muni has given its employees unsustainable pay and benefits literally on our dime (see 2010 S.F. Measure G). Our money should be kept here to satisfy our transportation demands instead of being shunted to a big-city slush fund.

The Bay Area has changed dramatically since this tax began 35 years ago. The inland East Bay has grown considerably.

AC Transit has stopped serving the inland East Bay; we have created our own transit agencies (e.g., County Connection, WHEELS, Tri-Delta Transit). We have unmet local transportation needs, including crumbling roads, that could be resolved with our $16.5 million that we annually export over the hills.


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It's time for the MTC to utilize its power under Public Utilities Code section 29142.2(b) and keep our "fair share" of the AB 1107 sales tax funds here in the inland East Bay.

Furthermore, when the next BART strike happens, Muni and AC Transit have a duty to send buses here to shuttle our residents through the Caldecott Tunnel and Dublin Canyon. We deserve something in return for the $100 millions of "one way" subsidies we have paid all these years.

Please write to your City Council member and county supervisor to demand that they ask MTC to keep our "fair share" of AB 1107 revenue. Stop raising our taxes to compensate for this one-sided transfer of our money over the hills.

Jason A. Bezis is a Lafayette attorney.