Friday, May 05, 2006

Measure H Advocates Make Their Case

Measure H Advocates Make Their Case
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Measure H advocates on Tuesday made their case to local financial leaders that the proposed county half-cent transportation sales tax is good for business.

Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine used an example from his city to illustrate the point. Vacaville is working on such improvements as the Leisure Town Road overcrossing, which in turn is near a business park. Kaiser and a Genentech have decided to expand there.

"They would have not made those decisions without road improvements, I can assure you," Augustine said.

Augustine, Suisun City Mayor Jim Spering and Bud Ross of the Solano County Taxpayers for Traffic Relief took part in the breakfast forum. The Solano Economic Development Corp. sponsored the event at the Hilton Garden Inn. Reporters from the Daily Republic and the Vacaville Reporter and audience members asked questions.

Measure H is on the June 6 ballot. It would raise an estimated $1.57 billion over 30 years for such projects as the interstates 80 and 680 interchange, commuter trains and buses, widening Highway 12 in Jameson Canyon and filling potholes.

Jon Monson of MV Transportation asked how the public knows the tax money would be spent in a responsible manner.

There will be an oversight committee - without elected officials, Spering said.

This committee of 11 citizens is to be appointed by the cities, county and Solano Transportation Improvement Authority. Members are to conduct an annual fiscal and performance audit of the transportation tax projects.

He feels better about the local tax money being spent responsibly than about something being done in Washington D.C. or Sacramento, Ross said.

Augustine tackled the issue of orderly growth and transportation improvements.

Key orderly growth advocates have expressed concern that better roads could trigger sprawl growth. They want to extend a county orderly growth law that says most rural land can be developed only if annexed by a city. After talks with transportation tax advocates, they decided to back Measure H.

But the two parties struck no deal, Augustine said. Transportation tax advocates didn't change the Measure H spending list, he said.

"We agree growth should be in the cities," Augustine said. "It's not that we capitulated on it. We already believed it . . . it was conversation, just like we're doing with you, like we'll have with anybody over the next month."

Tax opponents have criticized cities for putting out fliers describing Measure H projects, claiming these fliers appear to support the measure. But Spering and Augustine defended the move. The fliers don't tell people to vote for or against the measure, Spering said.

"I feel very strongly we need to keep the pubic informed on the projects," Spering said.

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

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