Apple offers to spend $9.7 million to fix congestion in Cupertino


apple park
Apple has some exciting projects in the works.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Cupertino’s congestion problems are about to get little bit of help from Apple’s wallet.

The iPhone-maker has offered to spend $9.7 million on bikeways and pedestrian projects in the city in light of a proposed ballot measure that could cost Apple $9 million a year in taxes.

The city council postponed whether or not to make a ballot measure to change the business tax until 2020. Last year there was a proposal that could have charged businesses a tax based on the number of people employed. As the largest employer in Cupertino with 24,000 workers, Apple would have been responsible for most of the $10 million in annual revenue the tax was projected to bring in.

Apple Park has been blamed for a lot of recent traffic issues facing the city. The head tax was proposed as a way to fix some of the issues.

Mountain View, California, home of Google’s headquarters, passed a similar head tax last year. Instead of going ahead with it, Cupertino city council decided to negotiate with Apple on private funding to help relieve commuter traffic.

Apple’s traffic project proposals

“After much work with the City, we have identified several Phase 1 projects that we are happy to financially support and move forward on as quickly as possible,” said Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president of real estate and facilities, in a March 27 letter to the council, according to The Mercury News.

The money will go to the following projects:

  • $4.63 million to fund bikeways along McClellan Road near Lincoln Elementary, Kennedy Middle and Mona Vista High schools. The money would also fund design and construction of two sidewalk improvements and a new signal light at the intersection of McClellan and DeAnza.
  • $1.2 million for traffic and pedestrian safety improvements near local schools
  • $1.98 million for planning, design and construction of new bike lanes and pedestrian improvements along Bubb Road
  • $1.8 million for design and development of the Junipero Serra Trail
  • $165,000 toward proposed bikeways on Mary Avenue

Not everyone on Cupertino’s city council is happy with the proposal. While Apple is willing to spend $9.7 million on the projects this year, the city could generate $10 million per year with the tax. There’s no guarantee that Apple will be willing to continue spending at least $9 million per year on projects.