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December 1, 2008

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AROUND THE INDUSTRY

BART Likely On Track for Reach Silicon Valley Extension

Bay Area Rapid Transit’s long-awaited extension to Silicon Valley may come to fruition soon, if Measure B—an ballot initiative to raise the sales tax in Santa Clara County by one-eighth of one cent—is deemed to have passed on Nov. 4 by the required two-thirds majority. Until now, the measure was short of this threshold, but the inclusion of absentee and provisional ballots appear to have tipped the balance; the League of Women Voters reports the final vote to show 66.74% of votes on the measure to be in favor.
The final results will be made official on Dec. 4. The sales tax increase would provide $42 million a year to fund operations of the proposed $6 billion extension, but only if sufficient state/federal funds are collected to match local construction dollars. Thus BART hopes passage of Measure B will persuade the federal government to provide another $750 million in funding for construction, in addition to the $760 million already committed by the state, according to the Mountain View Voice.
The prospect that Measure B might fail had led transit leaders to consider a shorter, less costly extension, perhaps only to neighborhoods on the periphery of San Jose, rather than directly to downtown via a tunnel.

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