South Bay Leaders Mull Traffic Tax

By Scott Budman
|  Friday, Apr 25, 2014  |  Updated 5:32 PM PDT
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Traffic congestion in the South Bay has gotten worse as the local economy has gotten better. With tech companies hiring, growing and generating profits, some say the time is right to raise taxes to fight back against local traffic. Scott Budman reports.

Traffic congestion in the South Bay has gotten worse as the local economy has gotten better. With tech companies hiring, growing and generating profits, some say the time is right to raise taxes to fight back against local traffic. Scott Budman reports.

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Traffic congestion in the South Bay has gotten worse as the local economy has gotten better. With tech companies hiring, growing and generating profits, some say the time is right to raise taxes to fight back against local traffic.

"Traffic is terrible, which is tied to that great economy,” Carl Guardino, chairman of the California Transportation Commission. “And we have problems we all really wanna fix."

Silicon Valley voters want to fix the traffic problems, too, according to a report from the California Transportation Commission.

And, according the report, they are willing to pay for things like street repair, a BART system that goes further south and improvements to Caltrain through a 0.25 percent hike in sales tax.

“I definitely would,” Los Gatos resident Karen Jarrett said. “We have a lot of potholes in our neighborhood, so I’d love to see it.”

But NBC Bay Area also found South Bay voters who say it wouldn't be worth the extra tax.

“Why would I want you to take more money out to fix a pothole when I’m already – like Obamacare, and all that other stuff you already have to pay for,” San Jose resident Brittaney Barnett said.

But, overall, the transportation commission says it might take advantage of the region’s technology-powered economy and put the new tax proposal to a vote.

"The results were so overwhelmingly positive,” Guardino said, “73 percent of us as voters and taxpayers willing to tax ourselves for more traffic relief and transportation improvements, that we're wondering if we should we go out this November rather than November of 2016.”

It's an issue South Bay motorists deal with every day that maybe soon to move forward a lot faster than our cars.

It should become clearer by this summer whether the tax hike will go to a November vote.

 

Scott Budman is on Twitter: @ScottBudman

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