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Recount Asked for Defeated County Transportation Sales Tax

The Alameda County Transportation Commission said Thursday it has requested a recount on the narrow defeat of Measure B1, the one-cent sales tax boost that failed by a tiny margin to receive the necessary two-thirds approval.

Recount Asked for Defeated County Transportation Sales Tax

The  Alameda County Transportation Commission announced today, Thursday, that it has asked for a recount of the election results showing a narrow defeat of the proposed 1-cent sales tax increase for Alameda County transportation, Measure B1.

If only 400 votes – about 0.08 percent of ballots cast – had gone the other way, the county-wide measure on the Nov. 6 ballot would have passed.

But  final election results certified Wednesday by the  Alameda County Registrar of Voters show that the measure fell short of the required two-thirds approval. Measure B1 received 350,899 yes votes, or 66.53 percent of total votes cast. No votes totaled 176,504.

The measure was intended to address declining state and federal funding for local transportation and would have raised $7.8 billion between 2013 and 2043, according to an  analysis by the Oakland League of Women Voters.

The executive director of the Alameda County Transportation Commission, Arthur Dao, said in a prepared statement:

“We have an obligation to the 66.53 percent of Alameda County voters who supported Measure B1 to leave no stone unturned. After receiving such strong support, we won’t turn away a critical $7.8 billion investment prematurely.”

Dao told Patch that the commission is requesting a "limited recount" for now, starting with precincts in Berkeley that showed high support but significant under-voting. Depending on the results of the limited recount, the agency may request a more extensive recount, he said. 

The measure would have extended the current half-cent sales tax approved as Measure B by Alameda County voters in 1986 and 2000 and due to expire in 2022. It would also have added an additional half-cent to the sales tax.

The League of Women Voters analysis, prepared before the election, outlined what the money would have been spent on: "More than three-fourths of the revenues would pay for improvements in three categories: transit, including paratransit; local streets and roads; and bicycle and pedestrian projects. Smaller amounts would go to freeways, transit-oriented development, freight transportation, and a student transit pass program."

A news release from the county transportation commission Thursday said:

"By placing Measure B1 on the ballot, Alameda CTC was responding to the need to develop new funding solutions for transportation — to update critical transportation infrastructure, fund mass transit and paratransit operations, increase transit choices and reduce congestion and pollution. Alameda CTC has already leveraged $756 million of current Measure B funds into $3.8 billion in capital improvements in Alameda County — more than $2.5 billion worth are under construction now — and has pumped $495 million back into local businesses in Alameda County in the past decade, creating nearly 5,100 jobs per year."

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