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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Santa Clara VTA mulls $6 billion sales tax measure


The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) late last week held a workshop to gather feedback on a potential half-cent sales tax measure that would fund a slew of transportation projects.

Over the course of 30 years, the tax would generate $6 billion. The agency would set aside $1.5 billion of that revenue for the second phase of the Bay Area Rapid Transit Silicon Valley Extension.

In addition, $300 million would be allocated for Caltrain capacity improvements, while another $700 million would go toward Caltrain grade separation projects, according to a VTA press release.

Although the entire list of projects in the recommended categories exceeds available funding, VTA staff suggested leveraging local dollars to obtain state, federal, regional and private funding. Another recommendation called for establishing the categories as percentages to provide equity among projects in the event that revenue falls short of estimates, VTA officials said in the release.

The agency's board will vote in June whether to put the tax measure on the November ballot.

Over the past 18 months, VTA has conducted extensive public outreach to gather input on the area's transportation needs.