Urban Habitat staff member Bob Allen provided training and technical assistance to YLI's young leaders at the School for Transit Reform in San Mateo County

San Mateo County voters approve measure for $80 million annually in new transportation funds

Through a partnership with Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) of San Mateo County, Urban Habitat and YLI youth co-developed a curriculum and jointly facilitated YLI’s first “School of Transportation Justice.” The workshop focused on leadership development, training on community-based participatory research, and transportation planning and policy analysis, all with a race and class lens. This helped establish a strong transportation justice platform. We also expanded our partnership to other key transportation stakeholders such as labor, seniors, and the disability rights community.

In the two years after the School of Transportation Justice training, Urban Habitat helped lead the development of a campaign for a county transportation tax measure. In November 2018, San Mateo County Measure W was approved by 67% of voters. The success of this campaign resulted in $80 million annually for 30 years in new transportation funds including:

  • $1.2 billion (50%) for local and countywide public transit including maintaining and enhancing bus, paratransit, rail and other discount pass programs for youth, seniors, people with disabilities and low-wage workers;
  • $240 million (10%) for regional transit improvements such as an express bus network;
  • $120 million (5%) for bicycle and pedestrian access and safety;
  • $300 million (12.5%) for local road improvements and pothole repairs; and
  • $540 million (22.5%) for highway and interchange improvements.

This new revenue stabilized the SamTrans budget and allowed for a community outreach process to develop new bus service. More broadly, we have achieved long-standing and important regional equity goals by developing a durable transportation justice coalition, and increased mobility options for transit-dependent communities in San Mateo County. We’ve seen how supporting transit-dependent riders in developing their own community-identified transportation needs results in more equitable policy and investment outcomes and helps win difficult ballot measure campaigns.