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May 23, 2005

For More Information, Contact:
Hema Sareen Mohan (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO - State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) today announced that SB 680, his bill to provide additional funding to help reduce traffic congestion in Santa Clara County, has advanced through the Senate on a majority vote.  It will be heard next in the Assembly. 

Modeled on successful legislation that Simitian carried for San Mateo County last year, Senate Bill 680 would allow the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to collect a vehicle registration surcharge of no more than $5 annually for up to eight years to help fund traffic relief and expressway improvement projects.  Studies show that nationally, motorists spend an average of $1,160 per year on wasted gas and time as a result of traffic congestion.

“People are understandably tired of wasting time in their cars.  This measure is designed to help folks in Santa Clara County fund their highest priority congestion relief projects,” Simitian said.  “It’s simply about helping folks get where they want to go faster.” 

“Regrettably, there is little to no help flowing from the state or federal government for local traffic relief,” said Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which is sponsoring this bill.  “It will take local citizens to meet the need.  A five dollar investment for a quicker commute is an easy decision for most motorists to make.” 

Simitian’s SB 680 has generated widespread support throughout Santa Clara County.  All fifteen City Councils in the County have voted to support the measure, as has the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and the Caltrain Joint Powers Board.

If passed, SB 680 would raise an expected $56 million over the next eight years for traffic relief improvement projects.  Among the projects tentatively identified for funding are coordinated traffic signals, improvements to the expressway system, and Caltrain baby bullet cars or station enhancements.