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Measure J on path to fall short of two-thirds threshold

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The seal of Contra Costa County, Calif.

Measure J — a 35-year half-cent sales tax to raise money for local roads, buses, rail, ferries and other transportation improvement projects in Contra Costa County — appears to have fallen far short of the two-thirds approval needed to pass, according to early results.

The measure had gotten 48.5 percent approval on mail-in ballots, and 51.5 percent disapproval.

Measure J would raise an estimated $103 million over the 35 years to “directly benefit Contra Costa County residents.”

Measure J would focus on improving major roadways that suffer from the worst traffic, including Interstate Highways 680, 580 and 80; state Highways 4 and 24; and arterials including Ygnacio Valley Road, Kirker Pass Road, Vasco Road, Bollinger Canyon Road, Central Avenue and Richmond Parkway.

It also would address issues such as safety at Contra Costa-area BART stations and better synchronization of traffic lights on major roadways.

Critics have challenged Measure J’s lack of specifics, and contend that similar past tax measures to improve transportation in Contra Costa have had negligible effect on the county’s increasing traffic volumes.

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