By: Linda Koelling, Former Mayor Foster City
It can be said, that when the government is careless with the money of its citizens, it is careless with their future. You may be familiar with Regional Measure 3, which states that if approved by voters, a pot of money will be used to mitigate traffic congestion. Like many previous measures, it is a misleading and egregious narrative. When you look at the countless number of tax initiatives and fees that have been brought before the taxpayers for the past several years and continue coming, you can't help but wonder where the money is really being spent.
Regional Measure 3, on the June ballot, is deceptive and bureaucracy out of control. Its multi-purpose promises regarding a variety of improvements will make it difficult to hold legislators accountable. This laundry list of various promises is being created for each of the nine bay area counties. So, the question is, which county will see any or all fulfilled?
It’s noteworthy that $1 million dollars of this money, will go toward creating an unelected group to have authority over these funds. A group who does not have to answer to the voters. Ask yourself, how will the rest of the money get divided, in which area and in what time frames?
Let’s consider the commuter who works in San Mateo, Santa Clara or San Francisco counties but must live across the bay because he/she can’t find housing or afford to live here. These are the ones who will have to pay the price with the bridge tolls up to $9 plus a recent 12 cents a gallon gas tax increase. How long will it be economically feasible for an employee to continue working in the area with these increases?
In addition, how will the company who employs that commuter continue to stay in business given that salaries will need to be raised to keep those employees and in turn those costs get passed on to consumers. Small businesses will not last.
Not a commuter? Those who live in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties may not think this toll increase will affect them. It will! You will still pay the high price because truckers who use the bridges to bring food, clothing and other goods to market will also have to pass along higher rates to YOU, the consumers.
Consider the messages of previous fees and taxes that were passed by the voters. They all said the revenue would go towards fixing streets, roads and transportation. But has it? It’s time to follow the money. These promises sound good but rarely come to fruition. Be prepared for more sales tax increases coming soon and being sold for the same reasons. By the way, if this initiative is passed, the state can continue raising bridge tolls based on inflation and without voter approval in the future.
We are definitely not steering a common-sense course for the Bay Area when it comes to growth and development in our cities and communities. Raising bridge tolls through RM 3 is only a band aid solution to a bigger problem, a lack of appropriate infrastructure to accommodate the massive push to urbanize all the suburban areas in the Bay Area. Lawmakers put the cart before the horse with all the building in the area. It is a flawed attempt to control the masses of people in the name of economic growth and sustainability.
It’s time to make the government in Sacramento accountable to the people they serve. Don’t listen to the continued empty promises. Follow the money! Vote NO on raising the bridge tolls. NO on RM 3.
New RM3 Flyer for printing and distribution or posting on your website. Contributed by a Nine-County Coalition participant. Download.