Monday, November 14, 2005

Answer to the people mover question: More money for San Jose

In an attempt to squeeze more funding to support the real people mover between the Santa Clara freight yard, where BART is supposed to end, and the San Jose Airport, San Jose official is now suggesting that part of the non-transit portion of the proposed 1/4 cent sales tax could be suspended to support the people mover.

In a way it is a defiance against SVLG, in which it first suggested to provide funding for non-transit expediture as a way to woo voters. If it is true that there's enough funding for pothole repairs, then why include it in the tax if not to mislead voters?

On the other hand, non-San Jose politicians were opposed to this idea. Not as much as whether the funding is needed, but where the money goes. County Supervisor Don Gage said it correctly in the article, "San Jose wants the big chunk.This is all San Jose." Generally, maintenance funding is spread around the county based on population or need; however, the people mover project mostly involve San Jose, therefore there would be a transfer of wealth if this project were funded instead.

Also, it leads to a more frightening prospect that more transfer of wealth could happen if other non-BART/non-San Jose projects have to be scarificed due to BART and/or people mover cost-overruns.

Finally, the City of San Jose could step further up to the plate by using city or airport funds, instead of taking a larger portion of the county sales tax. Or, the City could suggest eliminating the extra extortion fees for BART based on deceptive ridership projection. Or, in the extreme, a 1/4 city-wide sales tax for whatever project San Jose wants.

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