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.