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Walnut Creek considers half-cent sale tax to fund infrastructure projects

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The Walnut Creek City Council is scheduled to discuss on Tuesday whether to support the Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan of projects ranging from rebuilding major freeways to improving bike trails, and a prospective March 2020 ballot measure to pay for those improvements.

The proposed half-cent sales tax measure, envisioned for the March 2020 ballot, is expected to generate $3.6 billion over its projected 35-year lifespan, according to a Walnut Creek city report. Proposed expenditures would include improvements to state Highways 4 and 242, local transit and the BART Corridor in East Contra Costa County ($705 million); modernizing Interstate Highway 680, state Highway 24 local transit and the BART Corridor ($536 million); and upgrades of Interstate Highways 80 and 580 (including the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge), transit and BART West County corridor work ($243 million), along with a host of other projects throughout Contra Costa County.

The CCTA’s proposed plan includes a revised Growth Management Program, new Complete Streets policy, new road traffic safety policy, new transit policy and new advance Mitigation Program to help the Authority achieve its goals to reduce future congestion, manage the impacts of growth and expand alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle. CCTA officials have said that over the next 35 years, Contra Costa County’s population will continue to grow, resulting in new demands on the transportation infrastructure and additional mobility needs. The new sales tax measure is needed, they say, to meet demand of needed transportation improvement projects.

All Contra Costa County cities will be asked to support the CCTA’s Transportation Expenditure Plan and the ballot measure. The Walnut Creek City Council on Tuesday could vote to support both, one or neither. Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Walnut Creek City Hall, 1666 N. Main St.

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