FASTER Bay Area

At a meeting with one of the main proponents of FASTER Bay Area (FBA) – the proposed nine-county 1% public transit sales tax to raise $100 billion over 40 years – we got an update on their plans…

The short version is that it is going forward and we need to be very wary…

Last year, Senator Beall (D, 15th, Silicon Valley), the Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation, introduced SB278 on MTC reform, which, idle since March, became a two-year measure for this year. It is the place-holder for FBA. Since the objective is to place FBA on the November 2020 ballot, where it will need two-thirds of the voters to make it happen, it will need the urgency measure to be effective immediately, meaning two-thirds approval of both houses of the Legislature and the Governor’s signature by approximately June…

The answer we got was, it is now anticipated that it will be another four-week weeks before it is populated – but the plan is that SB278 will be voted out of the Senate as is – namely, not a word on the tax, then be populated later, passed by the Assembly, then back to the Senate, and to the Governor in time to be enrolled so that the sales tax will be on the November ballot. This is a variation on the classic California Legislature cut-and-amend process; which, as we all know, often works – well, “works” in the sense that the matter becomes law…

Watch S278 on MTC reform as it changes throughout the process.