By Mary Schindler
How about a round of applause, everyone?
We deserve to congratulate ourselves. Over the last year, the Transportation Equity Allied Movement Coalition (TEAMC) along with our community partners — YOU — have been fighting the good fight to ensure that San Mateo County’s next transportation ballot measure moves for us: for youth, seniors, people with disabilities, immigrants and other populations who rely on public transportation.
We worked hard together to advance our shared principles: we collected over 1,000 surveys, organized and attended multiple community meetings, met with elected officials and staff, generated coalition platforms and position papers, made calls and sent emails, and raised our concerns in public and stakeholder meetings.
And it worked.
On July 11th, SamTrans approved an expenditure plan that drew heavily on the community’s input. And yesterday, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to put it on the November ballot. This is plan that will guide how $80 million per year in tax revenues are spent, shaping the future of transportation — and the lives of those who rely on it — for years to come.
There is a lot to celebrate.
For instance, a full 50% of the funds will go to maintain and enhance bus, paratransit, and other mobility services to better serve vulnerable, underserved, youth, low-income, and transit-dependent populations throughout the County. This includes:
Also in the plan are Caltrain’s upgrades and improvements to better connect the County to the rest of the region, including Dumbarton transit improvements and express bus services. And, for those of us who use our feet, funding will be allocated to fill in the gaps and update facilities for the bicycle and pedestrian pathways. Together, these transportation improvements represent over two thirds of the spending in the measure!
Perhaps just as important was the inclusion of strong core principles and a strategic planning process that includes community input to craft the guidelines for the measure’s spending after November. This will help ensure that the measure’s fund continue to maximize community benefits even after the measure has been passed.