On March 3, Contra Costa County voters will have an opportunity to approve the most equitable, sustainable transportation funding measure the county has ever seen. Yes, the measure includes $1.9 billion dollars of new transit operations funding, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and programs, and investments in sustainable travel modes (more money and a higher proportion of the total funds than any previous measure in Contra Costa)... but that’s just the beginning.
TransForm and our local partners were deep in the trenches helping shape Measure J last fall during the Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s (CCTA) Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP) process. Many of our most important demands made it into the final measure, ensuring that expenditures will put social equity and climate resilience front and center.
How does it do that? Unlike most transportation funding schemes, Measure J is not a grab-bag of pet projects. It lays out the goals and outcomes by which potential projects will be judged in order to receive funding, like emissions reductions, benefits for low-income residents and underserved communities, open space protection, and congestion reduction.
The measure will help some of the most vulnerable residents of the County by:
- Ensuring that investments provide a disproportionately greater benefit for low-income residents and Communities of Concern;
- Requiring cities to adopt anti-displacement and affordable housing policies in order to receive measure money, tying housing production and tenants rights to transportation funding (we hope this can be a model for other measures);
- Providing more free and reduced fares for students, seniors, and people with disabilities;
There’s even more to like about the substance of Measure J. It will:
- Prioritize projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) in accordance with state climate mandates;
- Establish an exciting new program for reducing driving, called a “VMT mitigation bank” — the first of its kind in California. Any measure-funded project that does not decrease VMT will have to offset its impacts by funding VMT-reducing projects such as transit, walking, and biking improvements. If this passes in Contra Costa, we believe it will help spur other similar programs across the state;
- Prioritize safety and access for people who walk, bike, and use public transportation by requiring all roadway funding to abide by new transit, Complete Streets and road safety policies;
- Create a strong Public Oversight Committee to ensure more accountability and public involvement in the measure’s implementation, including adding four seats for representatives of people with disabilities, transit riders, low-income communities, and climate advocates;
- Allow Contra Costa County to participate in a state program that will direct millions of dollars in development impact fees to priority conservation projects.
We’re not alone in endorsing Measure J — check out its other endorsers, and see why the SF Chronicle just endorsed it. (You can read the nitty gritty details about how Measure J revenues will be spent by reviewing the Transportation Expenditure Plan.)
Now that you’re (hopefully) as excited about Measure J as we are, will you take some time to help it pass?
- If you are a Contra Costa County voter, will you pledge to vote yes on Measure J?
- Share this blog post on social media.
- Tell your friends in Contra Costa County and make sure they vote on March 3.
- Volunteer with us! We have several opportunities for you to make an impact, plus eat pizza and meet new friends! Here are all the details.
Measure J will be a win for public transit, biking and walking, and climate action. And it’s especially going to help those who face barriers just to get where they need to go, or are struggling to afford to stay in the Bay Area. When we target solutions where they are needed most, everyone wins.
Join us in voting Yes on Measure J in Contra Costa County on March 3!