Thanks to Senate Bill 1, authored in 2017 by state Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), California’s transportation infrastructure is getting the most significant boost in state gas tax funding in decades. Sen. Beall, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, also authored 2017 legislation authorizing MTC to seek voter approval – which it received in June of 2018 – for Regional Measure 3 to increase tolls on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges to fund congestion-relief and rehabilitation programs. This one-two legislative punch is providing a sorely needed tune-up for the Bay Area transportation network.
“Senator Beall powered through not one but two critical bills for us, and Bay Area residents are already noticing improvements,” said Randy Rentschler, MTC’s director of Legislation and Public Affairs.
MTC estimates SB 1 will generate more than $365 million per year for transportation in the nine-county Bay Area. Most of this funding will be directed to tackling the enormous backlog of maintenance and repairs for our local streets, roads and public transit systems. The Bay Area also is well-positioned to benefit from new statewide competitive grant programs to reduce congestion and improve freight movement.
Major projects in the RM 3 expenditure plan include new BART cars; extending BART to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara; extending Caltrain to downtown San Francisco; expanding S.F. Muni’s vehicle fleet; more frequent transbay bus service; interchange improvements in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties; an expanded express lane network; expanded ferry service; a direct freeway connector from northbound U.S. 101 to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge; upgrades to relieve congestion in the Dumbarton Bridge corridor; improving State Route 37; extending SMART to Windsor and Healdsburg and much more.
Sen. Beall also successfully authored the Housing Bond Act of 2018 to generate more than $4 billion for affordable housing programs.