Mega-measure: $100 billion traffic-busting tax plan for the Bay Area in California taking shape

Bigger than anything the Bay Area has seen before, a nine-county-wide plan to raise $100 billion in taxes over several decades to redefine the region’s transportation network could be ready for public input in the next several months, transportation officials said.

The plan now even has a name: Faster Bay Area.

The idea is to create a truly regional transit system that would more seamlessly connect the Bay Area’s extensive network of rails, buses and ferries, said Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a business advocacy organization that is partnering with the Bay Area Council and the urban planning think-tank SPUR to put the tax on the ballot.

Inspired by the success of two 2016 ballot measures in Seattle and Los Angeles that will raise, respectively, $54 billion and $120 billion over 20 and 40 years, leaders of the three organizations got to thinking: Why not here? They began meeting in January 2017 to craft a plan, seeking input from transportation professionals, transit agency heads and others for what such a regional system might entail. They are still skittish about releasing precise details, saying there’s more work to be done to gather feedback from city leaders, congestion management agencies, transit agencies, and commuters.