Thursday, February 02, 2006

Transportation Tax Spending List Gets Board Approval

Transportation Tax Spending List Gets Board Approval
By Barry Eberling

SUISUN CITY - Transportation leaders on Wednesday finished crafting a proposed county transportation sales tax spending plan to put before voters on June 6.

Whether it actually appears on the ballot depends on how the county Board of Supervisors and the seven city councils receive the proposal. They'll each vote on it in coming weeks and might suggest changes.

But the Solano Transportation Improvement Authority Board - which includes the mayors from the county's seven cities and county Supervisor John Vasquez - passed the plan by a 7-0 vote. Vallejo Mayor Anthony Intintoli was absent.

"I'm going to do everything I can between now and the election in June to make sure it passes," Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said.

The proposed half-cent county sales tax would last for 30 years. During that time, it could raise an estimated $1.5 billion. The projects lists states that:

- Forty percent of the tax money goes to highway projects. These include improving the I-80 and I-680 interchange, Highway 12 and Highway 113.

- Twenty percent goes to fixing potholes and maintaining streets.

- Twelve percent goes to commuter transit, such as more train service to BART, more Vallejo ferry service and more commuter bus service.

- Ten percent goes to safety projects, such as making walking and biking paths to schools safer and improving dangerous intersections.

- Ten percent goes to the county and seven cities for their own transportation projects.

- Seven percent goes to senior and disabled transit.

- One percent goes to STIA administration.

Without the transportation tax, congestion will worsen and the necessary projects will grow more expensive, Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine said.

"It's time to act," Augustine said. "It's time to fix the problem we're facing."

No one from the public spoke at the meeting. But several board members addressed the concern mentioned by the Greenbelt Alliance and others that the measure could fuel growth because it contains no growth controls.

Growth and open space are important issues, Suisun City Mayor Jim Spering said. The mayors are committed to working on them, he said. He agreed with the principle of the county's orderly growth law - growth takes place in the cities and not the unincorporated county.

Spering also expressed enthusiasm for the transportation tax spending list and the feedback he's getting from the public.

"I just sense there's an expectation we're going to solve this problem in June in Solano County," Spering said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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