Measure Wording

MEASURE J
CONTRA COSTA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

To:

  • Reduce congestion and fix bottlenecks on highways and major roads;
  • Make commutes faster and more predictable;
  • Improve the frequency, reliability, accessibility, cleanliness, and safety of buses, ferries, and BART;
  • Improve air quality;
  • Repave roads;

Shall the measure implementing a Transportation Expenditure Plan, levying a ½ ¢ sales tax, providing an estimated $103,000,000 for local transportation annually for 35 years that the State cannot take, requiring fiscal accountability, and funds directly benefiting Contra Costa County residents, be adopted?

COUNTY COUNSEL’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE J

The governing body of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (“CCTA”) has proposed a measure asking voters to approve a retail transactions and use tax – a sales tax – to fund certain transportation improvements in Contra Costa County.  State law authorizes CCTA to adopt an ordinance proposing a one-half of one percent (0.5%) sales tax.

The sales tax would be collected in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County from July 1, 2020, until June 30, 2055. The proceeds from this sales tax would supplement CCTA’s existing one-half of one percent (0.5%) sales tax, which will continue to be collected until March 31, 2034.

According to the measure, proceeds from the sales tax would be used to reduce congestion and fix bottlenecks on highways and major roads; make commutes faster and more predictable; improve the frequency, reliability, accessibility, cleanliness, and safety of buses, ferries, and BART; improve air quality; and repave roads. Sales tax proceeds may only be used for the projects and purposes specified in CCTA’s Transportation Expenditure Plan (“TEP”), which is included in the Voter Information Handbook, and any future amendments to the TEP. According to the TEP, 41.1% of the tax proceeds will be used to relieve congestion on highways, interchanges, and major roads; 54.9% of the tax proceeds will be used to improve transit and transportation countywide; 3.0% of the tax proceeds will fund transportation planning, facilities and services; and 1.0% of the tax proceeds will fund administrative costs.

Approval of this measure also would authorize CCTA to issue limited tax bonds to finance projects described in the TEP.  The maximum bonded indebtedness may not exceed the estimated proceeds of the sales tax.

According to the TEP, CCTA’s Public Oversight Committee will provide oversight of all expenditures of the sales tax proceeds and will report to the public.  This committee will review annual audits, the allocation of the tax proceeds, the performance of projects and programs in the TEP, and compliance by local jurisdictions.  Expenditures of sales tax proceeds also would be subject to annual independent audits.

Two-thirds of those voting on the ballot measure must approve the measure for it to pass.

A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of authorizing this 0.5% sales tax.

A “no” vote is a vote against authorizing this 0.5% sales tax.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE J

Vote YES on Measure J to reduce traffic congestion and improve transit in Contra Costa County!

Contra Costa County’s local transportation system needs improvement. Our residents deserve a transit network that makes travel faster and more predictable. That is why we need Measure J.

Measure J will reduce congestion on major roads and highways by focusing on the areas
with the worst bottlenecks, like Highways 680, 580, 80, 24 and 4 as well as Ygnacio Valley
Road, Kirker Pass Road, Vasco Road, Bollinger Canyon Road, Central Avenue and the
Richmond Parkway.

Reducing traffic congestion will lower emissions, improve air quality and benefit the environment.

Improving Contra Costa County’s transportation system will give commuters high-quality public transit options and make local travel faster. Vote YES on J to improve BART safety, cleanliness and access, enhance transit services for increased frequency and reliability and make it easier for seniors, veterans, students and people with disabilities to get around.

Measure J will:

  • Reduce congestion on Highways 680, 580, 80, 24 and 4
  • Make BART stations and trains in Contra Costa County cleaner and safer
  • Improve the frequency, reliability, accessibility, cleanliness and safety of buses, ferries and BART
  • Make commutes faster and synchronize traffic lights along major roads
  • Protect open space and improve air quality

Measure J Requires Strict Fiscal Accountability

  • No funds can EVER be spent on projects that don’t make travel faster and more predictable
  • All funding stays in Contra Costa County and cannot be taken by the State
  • Measure J will create good local jobs
  • Require transportation funding to directly benefit Contra Costa County residents
    and commuters

Passing Measure J could qualify Contra Costa County for millions in State/Federal matching funds for transportation improvements that would otherwise go to other counties.

Measure J is supported by every town/city council in Contra Costa County, as well as the Board of Supervisors and business, labor and environmental leaders. Vote YES on J.

Candace Andersen, Contra Costa County Supervisor, Dist 2
Bishop Ranch Business Park Association, Alexander Mehran, CEO
John Gioia, Contra Costa County Supervisor, District 1
Robert Taylor, Mayor Brentwood
Beverly Lane, Director, East Bay Regional Park District

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE J

STOP THIS TAX INCREASE!  Until 2034, existing County sales taxes already include a half-percent transportation tax, imposed by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority in 2004’s Measure J.

CCTA spent $3.5 Million in taxpayer funds trying to double their tax in 2016, but that measure failed.  So they’re back now with another Measure J, still pushing to add another half percent.  And their ballot question doesn’t even mention their existing tax.

CCTA’S OWN POLLING finds 55% agreement that “Most of the taxes I currently pay for local transportation improvements are wasted on things that don’t benefit people like me.”

And indeed, despite many billions extracted in new state and regional transportation taxes and tolls (1998; two in 2004; 2008; 2009; 2010; 2017; and two in 2018), commutes keep getting worse.

In 2018, 55% of Contra Costa County voters wisely rejected Regional Measure 3’s three new $1 bridge-toll increases.  But RM3 took effect anyway, due to votes in other counties.

And a looming $100 Billion regional transportation MEGAMEASURE would add another full
sales-tax percent!  At best, this new Measure J’s 35-year tax increase is premature.

DON’T LET CCTA TAKE YOU FOR A RIDE.  The only thing “transformative” about their new Measure J is its marketing:

  • Their ballot question claims that Measure J will “Reduce congestion.” But their own Environmental Impact Report (EIR) shows a 166% increase in “vehicle hours of delay” by 2040, even with their “County Transportation Plan Investment” (the new Measure J).
  • They claim likewise that they will “Improve air quality.” But the EIR for their Plan instead
    predicts “a net increase” in emissions of particulate matter by 2040.
  • Measure J’s spending of 44% of new tax revenue on transit would result in a mere 2.7% decrease in 2040 solo driving (EIR).

WE’RE SENIORS, TRANSIT ACTIVISTS, ENVIRONMENTALISTS, AND TAXPAYER
ADVOCATES.   PLEASE JOIN US IN OPPOSING MEASURE J!

More information:
www.TRANSDEF.org/MeasureJ
www.NOonJ.info

Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF), David Schonbrunn, President
Ken Hambrick, Chairman, Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers;
Former Grand Jury Member
Bay Area Transportation Working Group, Gerald Cauthen, President
Danville Citizens for Responsible Growth, Jami Tucker, Executive Director
Marilynne Mellander, Coordinator, Save El Sobrante

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE J

Measure J is costly and ineffective.  The Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s (CCTA’s) own reports disprove the sponsors’ bold claims about congestion and air quality.  Highways and local roads will be slower by 2040, CCTA’s Countywide Plan admits.

That’s because the number of cars on the roads will grow much faster than the roads themselves.  Measure J’s “Growth Management Program” supports a development pattern that makes practically every new resident commute by car.  That’s not a plan to relieve congestion!

It makes no sense to DOUBLE the current half-percent transportation sales tax when it actually worsens traffic congestion and degrades air quality.

Contra Costa County needs a truly transformative 21st Century plan for mobility, a plan that responds intelligently to the dual challenges of congestion and climate change.  Measure J is NOT that plan.

Measure J doesn’t improve transit services enough to significantly reduce the need to drive alone.  A regional express bus network, operating in free-flowing HOV lanes, would make it convenient for many to leave their cars at home.

Yes, we need pothole repairs.  But the 2017 state gas tax hike has already increased local street funding 70 percent.  Isn’t that enough?  Measure J would push sales taxes over 10% in part of Contra Costa County!

BART management fails consistently both to prosecute fare evasion and to ban panhandling, so Measure J won’t make BART “cleaner” or “safer.

Please vote NO on Measure J. Tell CCTA to come back with a plan that makes the future better than the present.

More information:
www.TRANSDEF.org/MeasureJ
www.NOonJ.info
www.batwgblog.com

Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF), David Schonbrunn, President
Bay Area Transportation Working Group, Gerald Cauthen, President
Marty Fernandez, Community Activist; Antioch Resident
Danville Citizens for Responsible Growth, Jami Tucker, Executive Director
Michael Griffiths, President and Co-Founder, Save Lafayette

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE J

We can all agree that we have do to something to address traffic congestion in Contra Costa County. It doesn’t matter what part of the county you are in, we all spend far too much time sitting in traffic.

Our opponents are quick to criticize the Measure J plan (which was crafted and approved by community representatives from across Contra Costa County), but they have not brought forward an alternative solution to fix our terrible traffic problems. If they get their way, our freeways and roads will keep getting more and more clogged, worsening air quality and severely impacting our quality of life.

Measure J is the right solution, right now, to Contra Costa County’s transportation problems. If it passes, it will reduce congestion on our highways, make local BART stations cleaner and safer, improve the frequency, reliability, accessibility and cleanliness of public transit, speed commutes and synchronize lights to smooth traffic flow on major roads.

In addition, Measure J is a smart way to make sure these things get done. It requires that all funding be spent only on things that make travel faster and more predictable in Contra Costa County, it prevents any of the funding from being taken by the State or Federal government and it brings in millions more in state and federal matching funds to be spent here in ContraCostaCounty on critical transportation improvements.

Contra Costa County residents deserve the transportation improvements Measure J will bring, such as traffic congestion relief and better, more frequent public transit. Please join us in voting YES on J.

Amy R. Worth, Orinda City Councilwoman
David Lewis, Executive Director, Save the Bay
Diane Burgis, Contra Costa County Supervisor
James Wunderman, President & CEO, Bay Area Council
Edward Macumber, Retired Fire Captain, Co Co County Fire Protection District