SamTrans rolls out expensive new buses just before tax hike vote

One of the new SamTrans buses. Photo from the Facebook page of Charles Stone, a Belmont councilman and SamTrans board member.

By the Daily Post staff

SamTrans rolled out new buses yesterday (Oct. 16), 21 days before San Mateo County voters will decide whether to raise the county’s sales tax half a cent to fund SamTrans and transportation projects.

SamTrans bought the 10 electric buses for $9.2 million in March.

The money came from federal, state, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and SamTrans funds, according to a statement from March.

The new electric buses cost about $270,000 more than regular diesel buses but create about $25,000 a year in fuel savings, according to a tweet by SamTrans board member Dave Pine.

Measure W, the half-cent sales tax that goes before voters Nov. 6, would bring in $80 million a year.

Half of that would fund SamTrans and its paratransit services, while $8 million would go toward mass transit projects, such as part of the cost of bringing a public ferry service to the Redwood City Port and a sliver of the cost of reviving the Dumbarton rail line.

Measure W would raise the sales tax to 9.25% in most San Mateo County cities. In Belmont, East Palo Alto and San Mateo, it would go to 9.5%.