Bike-Friendly Ballot Measure Hangs on 0.1 Percent of the Vote

As of Friday afternoon, 350,899 Alameda County voters had voted in favor of ballot measure B1, which would increase the county’s transportation tax from a half cent to 1 cent for road repair, bicycle infrastructure and transit investments. One the other side of the coin, 176,504 county residents had voted against.

Under normal circumstances, a 66.53% to 33.47% vote would have been a decisive victory for the measure and we would not be reporting the vote to the second decimal place. However, in California, when the funds from a local sales tax measure are dedicated for a specific purpose, a two-thirds “supermajority” of 66.67% is required. The vote is so close that election officials are still counting absentee and other ballots. They are not expected to have a final tally until Wednesday, November 21. The best current guess is that the measure will fall short by fewer than 700 votes. A recount is possible.

The fact that at least 66% of the voters opted to voluntarily tax themselves for better transportation infrastructure, including bicycling facilities, signals the direction many communities are headed in an era of uncertain federal funding.