Jun 30, 2020
$9 to cross the Bay Bridge? Court upholds incremental toll hikes
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A plan backed by traffic-weary voters raising Bay Area bridge tolls by $3 over six years to fund new transportation projects has survived another legal challenge.
But a state appeals court ruling that upheld 2018’s Regional Measure 3 may not be the final word on the toll hike, as the anti-tax group that sought to derail the measure indicated Tuesday that it will take its fight to the state Supreme Court.
Drivers have been paying for the first of the measure’s three $1 bridge toll increases since the start of 2019. The measure, approved by 55 percent of voters in June of 2018, will raise the fee to cross the Bay Area’s state-owned bridges — that is, all of them except for the Golden Gate — by another dollar in 2022 and $1 more in 2025.
Many drivers winced at the idea of paying $9 for a peak-hour trip across the Bay Bridge by the end of the measure’s toll increases in 2025, but a campaign led by transportation and business groups helped convince voters that the pain was worth it to raise nearly $4.5 billion for new infrastructure and $60 million in annual transit operations funding.
Money from Regional Measure 3 is slated to fund nearly three-dozen projects, including the next phase of BART’s extension through San Jose, Caltrain’s push into downtown San Francisco, expanded ferry service and several highway interchange improvements.
That funding has been on hold, however, because of a challenge to the measure brought by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. The conservative group sued the Bay Area Toll Authority soon after Regional Measure 3 passed, arguing the toll increase should be invalidated because it functions as a tax, and as such needed support from two-thirds of voters to pass, rather than a simple majority.
The toll authority countered that the toll increase is not a tax but a fee to enter and use state property.
A San Francisco trial court sided with the toll authority last year, and on Monday the First District Court of Appeal did the same.
“Naturally, we’re pleased by the court’s ruling,” Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Bay Area Toll Authority, wrote in a statement Monday. “While we were confident the election process the Legislature approved and MTC followed would again be supported by the court, we are even more excited to finally unlock the toll funds approved by voters and put those dollars to work on dozens of much-needed projects to provide both mobility and jobs throughout the Bay Area.”
Timothy A. Bittle, director of legal affairs for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, countered Tuesday that the appellate court’s ruling is inconsistent with an opinion it handed down in a separate case earlier this year that limited local governments’ abilities to impose fees.
Bittle said his group will “most likely” file a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking a review of the Regional Measure 3 case.
News Source: mercurynews.com
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Shock Poll Shows Trump on Track to Win Reelection
A new poll conducted by the Washington based Democracy Institute for the Sunday Express shows President Trump tied with his rival Joe Biden at 47 percent, but surpassing him in the electoral college 309 to 229.
These positive results for Trump come amid a constant drumbeat of negative media coverage in recent weeks that paints his electoral chances in November as virtually nil.
According to the shock poll, Trump is “on course to win the crucial swing states including Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where he outpolls Vice President Biden by 48 percent to 44 percent.”
According to David Maddox, the political editor of the Sunday Express, the poll indicates that the Black Lives Matter riots have created a backlash that is helping Trump.
A new shock US poll for @DemocraticINST and #SundayExpress shows that the Black Lives Matter protests are boosting @realDonaldTrump chances of victory…plus voters are worried about Bidens cognitive state amid concerns he has early signs of dementia https://t.co/VkXEIyurmh
— David Maddox (@DavidPBMaddox) July 7, 2020
The poll was conducted Jul 1–3, before the president went to the Mount Rushmore to make a speech that was very well received by most Americans, but furiously derided by Democrats and their allies in the corporate media.
In his speech, Trump blasted the “cancel culture” and “the angry mobs” who want to erase America’s history: “There is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. Not gonna happen to us,” the president said.
This left-wing cultural revolution will never be allowed to destroy our way of life or take away our freedom. pic.twitter.com/BZPYERHXdy
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 4, 2020
“Fallout from the Black Lives Matter protests” is helping the president’s campaign for reelection, Maddox opined in the The UK Express article.
Given a choice between which phrases identified their views 71 percent chose “all lives matter” while 29 percent picked “black lives matter”.
Meanwhile, with statues of presidents and other historic figures being attacked and pulled down across the US, 74 percent said they disapproved of the actions while 77 percent disagreed with the assertion supported by many Democrat politicians that Mount Rushmore with the faces of four US Presidents carved on it “is racist”.
The poll showed that 59 percent approved of the President’s handling of the riots and protests but 40 percent want him to be tougher while 60 percent think Mr Biden has not been critical enough.
In addition, 67 percent prefer President Trump’s law and order message compared to 29 percent who want black community relations improved with the police.
According to the poll, 76 percent of people said it made no difference to them whether of not Biden chose a black running mate.
The poll also shows the president doing well with minority voters—35 percent for black voters and 34 percent for Hispanics.
Worse still is Mr Biden’s mental health after some stumbling performances and public concerns that he may be suffering from the early stages of dementia have also had an impact.
According to the poll 55 percent believe he is suffering from cognitive problems and 44 percent say that it means they are less likely to vote for him while 58 percent think aged 77 he is too old to be President.
Patrick Basham, the director of the Democracy Institute, said: “Between now and Election Day, the factor that will most influence the final outcome will be the debates between President Trump and his Democratic opponent. Should Biden regain some of his past skill at coasting through such encounters with moderate, platitudinous comments delivered with a smile, a little humour, and an Everyman demeanour, he will retain a good chance of enjoying a very competitive election.
“But, should Biden have even one ‘senior moment’ during which he forgets what he’s saying, or where he is, or the question posed to him, his chances of beating Trump will be somewhere between slim and none.”
Indeed, Biden’s campaign has had the candidate on a short leash in recent months, only allowing him to participate in minor, scripted online events where he continues to struggle nonetheless.
Biden’s apparent cognitive decline has likely contributed to the “enthusiasm gap,” that continues to benefit Trump, with 77 percent of Trump voters “enthusiastic” about voting for their candidate compared to only 43 percent of Biden voters.
The poll results suggest that President Trump has much more support than can be gleaned through polling because of this “shy Trump voter” effect. When asked whether they are “comfortable with your relatives, friends, and coworkers knowing how you vote?” only 29 percent of Trump supporters responded in the affirmative, while 82 percent of Biden voters said they were.
The majority of respondents [67 percent], saw Trump as a strong leader, while Biden ws seen as a consensus builder [55 percent], and more likeable [60 percent].
Q. “Are you strongly or very enthusiastic about your choice of candidate?”
Trump voters = 77%
Biden voters = 43%
Q “Is your vote for Trump/Biden a positive vote for your candidate or a negative vote against his opponent?
Trump voters: positive vote = 81%; negative vote = 19%
Biden voters: positive vote = 29%; negative vote = 71%
Q “Could your vote change before Election Day?”
Trump voters: Yes = 4%
Biden voters: Yes = 12%
“Shy” Trump Vote?
Questions to Undecided Voters
Q “Does a relative or a friend plan to vote for Trump?”
Yes = 66%
No = 34%
Q. “Will President Trump be reelected?”
Yes = 52%
No = 48%
Question to All Voters
Q. “Are you comfortable with your relatives, friends, and coworkers knowing how you vote?”
Trump voters: Yes = 29%
Biden voters: Yes = 82%
National Popular Vote
Trump = 47%
Biden = 47%
Undecided = 6%
White voters: Trump = 52% Biden = 46%
Black: Trump 16% Biden = 81%
Hispanic: Trump 34% Biden = 51%
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Debra Heine reports for American Greatness.
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