Case Study

County Sales Tax Measure

BART to Silicon Valley

Background

In 2000, the residents of Santa Clara County passed Measure A, the first step to bringing BART to Silicon Valley. Measure A provided the bond money needed for construction, but did not generate sufficient funding to operate and maintain the extension. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group contacted TBWB to assist with a new measure to enact a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase to operate and maintain the BART extension.

What We Did

The political environment, economic uncertainty and a diverse electorate spread across a considerable geographical area presented several challenges in 2008 for the campaign. By analyzing the different regions within Santa Clara County, TBWB crafted a persuasive message strategy and mail plan to persuade undecided voters and mobilize supporters and supportive portions of the electorate. This strategy included a ground campaign to target newly registered voters and identified supporters of public transportation, including outreach on college campuses in coordination with labor and environmental organizations. Additionally, TBWB developed several direct mail pieces to target specific geographic areas and voter groups with localized messages and endorsements.

A well-organized opposition group that included several local elected officials threatened Measure B’s success. However, the campaign committee executed a focused campaign with a consistent message about the importance of public transportation, as well as economic and environmental benefits of Measure B.

Though it was a tight race, after all the ballots were counted, Measure B passed with 66.78% approval.