TA Funds Help Fill Fiscal Potholes

If funding from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority was not available to cities, Veterans Boulevard in Redwood City might not have been resurfaced; Burlingame might not have been able to improve the intersections of Carolan Avenue at North Lane and Broadway; and Pacifica might not have been able to complete its Streetlight Replacement Project.

These are just a few of the improvement projects from a long list of upgrades. Cities in San Mateo County, as well as the county, have come to depend on Measure A funds (half-cent sales tax) to maintain and repair local streets and roads. Since 1988, 20 percent of all sales tax revenues generated by Measure A have been given directly to local municipalities. That percentage jumped to 22.5 percent when the new reauthorized Measure A went into effect Jan. 1, 2009.

The funds are distributed based on a formula that includes population and road miles. Cities and the county can use the funds for projects such as paving streets, repairing potholes and sidewalks, traffic signal coordination, bike/pedestrian safety, as well as promoting shuttle use or carpool programs.

As the state continues to grapple with its budget, San Mateo County can credit its voters with the foresight to reauthorize Measure A in 2004, long before the downturn of the current economy. By passing the measure again and continuing to be a “self-help” county, San Mateo County residents are ensured transportation funding through 2033. One of the major benefits the “self-help” designation brings is the ability for the TA to leverage local funds to secure state and federal matching funds. Because of this, local road and highway repairs, as well as other transit projects, will not be neglected during these tough economic times.

In the past 20 years, local municipalities have invested more than $196 million from the TA into their communities. The projects have occurred throughout the county. [Editor’s note: See list by city at the end.]

Redwood City
As part of its preventative maintenance program, Redwood City implemented resurfacing projects on a number of neighborhood streets last summer that provided smoother, safer and improved roads. The project focused in the area bordered by El Camino Real, Marshall Street, Winslow Street, Veterans Boulevard, and the northern city limit. Over the last two decades, TA funding has helped Redwood City repair approximately 200 streets across the city.

According to TA Board of Directors Chair Rosanne Foust, who also is the mayor of Redwood City, transportation and traffic are on the city’s list of key strategic initiatives.

“Maintenance of our roads and streets is critical to our residents, our businesses, and for people from all over the Peninsula who come to Redwood City to dine, see a movie or take in a concert,” Foust said.

“TA funding provides opportunities for the city to positively affect the quality of life in our community.’’

A combination of Measure A and Proposition 1B funds, in addition to gas tax money, has helped Burlingame perform dig-out repairs and asphalt resurfacing on 16 streets in the last year, including Cabrillo, Capuchino and Cortez avenues.

“Measure A funding has allowed Burlingame to move forward with many street enhancement projects,” said TA Board Vice Chair Rosalie O’Mahony, who also serves on the Burlingame City Council.

“In these tight fiscal times, many other communities have been forced to put road maintenance on the back burner.”

TA funds have helped Pacifica fix approximately 40 of its coastside roads and streets, upgrade the Linda Mar Boulevard signal system and finish its American with Disabilities Act Curb Ramp Project.

As part of the reauthorization of Measure A, Pacifica residents nominated several projects for possible funding, including the Santa Rosa Pedestrian Overcrossing Replacement Project.

“Without the availability of TA funds, Pacifica may not have been able to do as much street and road rehabilitation over the past 20 years,” said TA Board Member Jim Vreeland, who also serves on the Pacifica City Council.

About the TA
In addition to providing 22.5 percent of the Measure A half-cent sales tax to local entities, the TA also funds five other programs: Transit (30 percent); Highways (27.5 percent); Grade Separations (15 percent); Pedestrians/Bicycles (3 percent); and Alternative Congestion Relief Programs (1 percent). Another 1 percent goes toward administrative costs.

The TA Board of Directors adopted its Strategic Plan last December, which will guide the evaluation and prioritization of projects that apply for Measure A funding. Developed after a series of community meetings held throughout the county, the plan also includes input from key stakeholders.

Local Municipality Distribution

Local Entity

1989 - 2008


$3.8 million


$7.2 million


$1.6 million


$8.4 million



Daly City

$20.5 million

East Palo Alto

$5.9 million

Foster City

$6.7 million

Half Moon Bay

$3 million


$6.1 million

Menlo Park

$9.4 million


$5.9 million


$10.4 million

Portola Valley

$2.7 million

Redwood City

$19 million

San Bruno

$10.2 million

San Carlos

$8.5 million

San Mateo

$23.5 million

South San Francisco

$15 million


$3.3 million

San Mateo County

$24.3 million


4/13/2009 - tcb
Media Contact: Tasha Bartholomew, 650-508-7927