VTA hoards tax revenue money for BART extension, but has a plan for other transportation projects

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

Officials in California want more money to go to potholes, not towards filling a hole in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) line.

The Valley Transportation Authority, however, has a different take, and wants to spend most of the money raised through the Measure B sales tax on the $6.9 billion downtown San Jose BART extension over the next decade. At the same time, money allocated to road repairs have been cut.

The plan was to spend no more than 25 percent of the $6.3 billion coming from the sales tax on the BART extension. VTA still defended the move, saying the spending cap applies over the 30-year life of the tax. The BART extension is projected to take up 24 percent of the total sales tax revenue, but VTA will use 75 percent of the tax revenues between 2022 and 2030 for the BART project.

The VTA advisory committee has rejected the spending plan, but the move will not affect future plans.

VTA claims over the past four years $148 million has been spent to improve roads and help with traffic congestion in the region. However, over the next decade or so only $50 million will be allocated for other transportation needs.

Committing such a large sum of money to the BART extension will eliminate the need to borrow, according to the VTA. Also, when the BART project is finished, more than $260 million of the sales tax revenue will be available for road, bridge, and other infrastructure projects annually.

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