Thursday, June 09, 2005

The 2006 Measure A sales tax campaign starts now

At the special VTA board meeting scheduled for June 16, the VTA board is asked to approve a request by the SJ Mayor Gonzales, essentially giving an early endorsement for a 1/4 cent sales tax.

Gonzales's request is to direct the VTA staff to come up with a capital expenditure plan "tax plan" primarily with the following assumptions:
  • 1/4 cent sales tax
  • Full BART extension ASAP, including the appendage to the Santa Clara freight rail yard
  • Cutting one of the two proposed BART subway stations in downtown San Jose
  • Reduce cost initially by cutting the number of BART rail cars to be purchased
  • More of the same as to funding other projects and programs, but to assume that these projects would speed up implementation by decreasing costs on their own
  • No airport peoplemover at least until 2020

Gonzales specifically recommended the board not to look at funding scenarios with no new tax. He also refer to the SVLG's own private poll specifically as one of the factors for these assumptions.

Through this memo, he is attempting to reach a compromise for a new tax. He is willing to give up one of the two downtown San Jose BART subway stations, but he is still asking for a full extension, with the appendage to Santa Clara rail yard, to be built all at once. Still, his insistance signals a unwillingness to follow a common practice performed at other agencies, and continues to pose a risk for other projects from having their funds raided for BART, despite the token protection listed in the memo for Caltrain electrification and other projects through some undefined savings.

This latest attempt for a compromise could mean a higher 2000 Measure A tax for less of the 2000 Measure A program. The 2000 Measure A, no matter how many times "71% voter approval" Gonzales and Guardino repeat over and over, is a damaged good.

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