The only problem? VTA was supposed to study the plans using funds from the 2016 Measure B sales tax, and use of the tax money has effectively been frozen pending a legal challenge by a local resident. The lawsuit alleges that the measure was too broad and lacked specific details on how the money would be spent.
VTA's board of directors voted in August for a workaround strategy, permitting VTA officials to hash out an agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) for $1.2 million in loans to conduct the study.
The source of MTC money comes from regional funding provided by the Federal Highway Administration Surface Transportation Program, and the plan is for VTA to pay the money back once the Measure B funds are released. If the lawsuit succeeds in repealing Measure B, VTA will have no obligation to repay the loan, according to a VTA staff report.
"Until we get some additional funding, there's nothing to move forward on," McAlister said of the cancelled Policy Advisory Board meeting.
The lawsuit was filed by Mountain View attorney Gary Wesley on behalf of Saratoga resident Cheriel Jensen. Oral arguments in the Measure B lawsuit are scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 9:30 a.m.
Measure B is expected to generate $6.3 billion in tax revenue, of which $350 million has been allocated to relieve traffic congestion on Highway 85. Although earlier plans by VTA called for toll lanes to be built in the median of the highway, along with conversion of the existing carpool lane to a toll lane, the language of the ballot measure specifically calls on VTA to study a light rail or bus rapid transit option in the analysis.
Surveys conducted last year found that more than a quarter of commuters on Highway 85 spend over an hour commuting each way, and that interest in a transit option directly correlated with daily commute times. The survey showed a pretty mixed bag on which transit option is preferred, however, with residents calling for light rail, frequent bus service and several other options. Some insisted that more general use lanes are the best way to reduce gridlocked traffic during peak hours.
This story contains 468 words.
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