BART to San Jose Supporters Remain Hopeful of Passage

Three days after the polls close and we are still waiting for the answer on Mesasure B

Campaigners on both sides of San Jose's Measure B, which if passed  would bring Bay Area Rapid Transit to the South Bay, have remained hopeful  today as Tuesday's election results are too close to call and more than  150,000 ballots remain to be counted as of Thursday.

The 16.1-mile BART expansion project would run from Fremont to  Santa Clara and add six stops to the line. The $6.1 billion project would  also connect BART with Caltrain, the Altamont Commuter Express, Santa Clara  Valley Transportation Authority lines and Amtrak.

Measure B proposes a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase to fund  the expansion, which comes out to around $13 a year per resident, proponents  said.

If the measure passes, the tax will only be collected if state and  federal funding is in place. The tax would be in effect for 30 years and  construction would begin in 2013 and end in 2017, according to the county.

Measure B Campaign spokesman Phil Yost said Thursday that votes in  support of the measure, which requires two-thirds approval to pass, have been  coming in more favorably as ballot counting continues.

"We have crept up a little bit each time they have released a new  count," he said.

Yost said initial returns indicated about 65.6 percent of absentee  voters voted in favor of Measure B. When more results were released Wednesday  morning, about 67.7 percent of voters had approved the measure, bumping the  average percentage to about 66.27, according to Yost.

Continued elections returns have bumped the percent of voters in  favor of Measure B up to about 66.3 percent, where the results stood this  afternoon.

"There is an indication that these ballots that remain to be  counted will be slightly more positive than the previous ones," Yost said.  "They don't have to be wildly more positive for us, but we think if they are  67.9 percent for us we will get to our two-thirds."
Measure B campaigners expected the race to be tight, according to Yost.

"We knew that in this economy we were unlikely to have that kind  of margin," he said. "We always figured it would be pretty close."

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