Friday, May 05, 2006

Vacaville Shifts into Gear on Tax for Transportation

Vacaville Shifts into Gear on Tax for Transportation
By Robin Miller/City Editor

Mayor Len Augustine speaks Thursday at the the Chamber of Commerce to mark the Vacaville kickoff for Measure H. The mayor spoke about the importance of passing the measure. (Ryan Chalk/The Reporter)

Vacaville city and business leaders gathered with representatives of county and state government Thursday to rally behind Measure H, a proposed half-cent sales tax increase that will go before the voters in June.

Designed to pay for transportation improvements, Measure H is vital for Solano County's and Vacaville's future, said Mayor Len Augustine.

"It is a little unusual for a person as far to the right as I am to support a tax," he quipped. But having served in public office for so long, Augustine said he knows all too well the difficulty in obtaining state and federal dollars to fix roads.

"I've traveled to Washington and Sacramento and the first question is always 'Do you have matching funds,' " he said. "And if you don't, you are moved to the back of the line."

For Augustine and others at Thursday's press conference in the courtyard at the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, getting voters to understand that dynamic is vital.

"We've gotta get out of the state of denial and listen to those who are trying to deal with these issues," said County Supervisor Mike Reagan. "We have to have tax in order to get state and federal dollars to deal with the issues."

For Gary Tatum, former Vacaville police chief and current Vacaville Chamber of Commerce director, the issue has global ramifications.

"You have to think globally. How does our failing infrastructure affect business on a national and international basis?" he said. "This is a vital business transportation corridor."

Garland Porter, city treasurer, endorsed the measure, saying it guarantees funds will be used locally and will help senior citizens as it raises money for improved and expanded paratransit services.

"Saying 'no' will only bring more gridlock and tragedy," Porter said. "Measure H allows us to take control of our transportation destiny."

Robin Miller can be reached at

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