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Half a billion dollar victory for transit equity

June 6, 2016

Last week, the VTA Board of Directors voted unanimously to place a half-cent 30-year sales tax on the November ballot, which includes half a billion dollars in investments to serve the transportation needs of underserved residents including seniors and low-income communities.

This victory is the result of a campaign for equitable transportation investments that started two years ago. We partnered with a strong and diverse coalition of 16 partners, known as the Transportation Justice Alliance (TJA), to advance this work.

We and our TJA partners launched on-the-ground efforts and engaged 3,000 residents and transit riders countywide to collect meaningful community input to inform a potential transit tax expenditure plan.

The input of the community is embodied in the adopted expenditure plan, which commits half a billion dollars for transit affordability, enhanced senior mobility options and fast, frequent and reliable bus service for those who rely on public transit.

Transit directly impacts the quality of life of all residents—it determines the types of jobs and quality of services one has access to. Currently, transportation is the second largest expense for low-income communities. We need to change this by growing the movement for transportation equity.

The latest victory demonstrates the power of a strong coalition to bring about change. Together, we are ensuring public transit remains a public good accessible to all residents, but especially seniors, working families, students and other underserved communities.