By Cristina Abellan-Matamoros

Traffic congestion on westbound Interstate 80 in Emeryville. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
Traffic congestion on westbound Interstate 80 in Emeryville. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Eighteen months after Alameda County voters narrowly failed to pass a transportation sale tax measure, local officials are ready to try again.

Tuesday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt an $8 billion transportation spending plan and place a measure on the November ballot to fund it. The measure would double an existing half-cent transportation sales tax to a full cent and extend it for a period of 30 years.

Tess Lengyel, deputy director of planning and policy at the Alameda County Transportation Commission, says the plan would fund senior and youth transit passes, a BART expansion to Livermore, street and highway repairs and improvements, and new bicycle and pedestrian paths throughout the county.

“People understand that this kind of transportation investment will spur economic growth,” Lengyel said.

A report by the Bay Area Council, a consortium of regional business interests, found that the plan could stimulate a total of $20 billion in economic activity in the Bay Area and create 150,000 jobs in construction, transit operations and manufacturing.

The county’s current half-cent sale tax, also known as Measure B, was first approved in 1986 and reauthorized for another 20 years in November 2000.

In 2012, a permanent sales tax measure called Measure B1 fell just short of approval. In that vote, 66.53 percent of county voters said yes to the tax — 721 votes short of the required 66.67 percent.

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