Measure B transportation funds freed following state Supreme Court denial

The California Supreme Court Jan. 23 denied an appeal aimed at blocking Santa Clara County’s Measure B traffic relief and transit improvement initiative, clearing the way for $6.3 billion in projects to proceed – including improvements to congested Foothill Expressway in Los Altos.

Measure B, a 30-year, half-cent sales tax, was approved by nearly 72 percent of Santa Clara County voters in November 2016. The state Supreme Court was the last of three courts that ruled in favor of enacting Measure B, enabling the Valley Transportation Authority to disburse funds for transit improvements.

“The roadblock against road and transit improvements has been cleared,” said Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, who led the three-year effort to qualify and pass Measure B. “Voters will now receive the improvements promised in Measure B, paving the way for work to get started to improve the quality of life for 1.9 million county residents.”

The state Supreme Court’s denial comes after the state Court of Appeal ruled in October in favor of the VTA in response to a legal challenge filed by Saratoga resident Cheriel Jensen. That challenge froze funding for more than two years. Jensen and her attorney, Gary Wesley of Mountain View, claimed the initiative’s wording lacked specifics on funding use and should therefore be deemed invalid.

With opponents’ legal options exhausted, plans can go forward for lane additions along Foothill Expressway between the San Antonio Road and El Monte Avenue intersections in Los Altos. Plans also include adding a through lane on El Monte at the Foothill intersection.

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