Lawsuit blocks Measure B funds

Local transit projects delayed by legal challenge

Santa Clara County’s new Measure B sales tax has already collected tens of millions of dollars for a multitude of transportation upgrades, but that money is now embargoed from being spent.

An appellate lawsuit filed by Mountain View attorney Gary Wesley on behalf of Saratoga resident Cheriel Jensen is blocking the Valley Transportation Authority from spending any of the $6.5 billion in revenues expected to come from the new tax. For local communities, this means a series of crucial projects — such as plan for Caltrain grade separation and new bikeways — could be on hold for up to two years before the suit is resolved.

The suit seeks to dismantle the sales tax by arguing that the language of Measure B was overly broad and lacked specifics as to how the money would be spent…

Prior to the election, the sales tax raised some political controversy, especially in the northern areas of the county. Elected officials from Palo Alto, Mountain View and other neighboring cities complained that San Jose officials held too much sway on the VTA board. A coalition of nine cities demanded restrictions on how the money would be spent, particularly on how much would be spent bringing a BART extension to San Jose…(more)

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