Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Vote Yes on Measure H

Vote Yes on Measure H

Voters have an opportunity on June 6 to make an investment in Solano County transportation projects that should benefit our communities for the next three decades and beyond.

The Solano County Transportation Improvement Authority has placed a half-cent sales tax on the ballot - Measure H - that will raise $1.57 billion during the next 30 years, money proponents of the measure say will be leveraged with state and federal dollars to help fund traffic relief and safety projects.

On the comprehensive list are highway corridor improvements, maintenance and repair of local roads, senior and disabled transit services, improved commuter transit projects, safety improvements and discretionary funds for projects in individual cities within the county.

Here is a breakdown of how the estimated tax revenue would be split:

= Highway improvement and safety: $625 million, 40 percent.

= Local streets and roads: $315 million, 20 percent.

= Commuter mass transit: $190 million, 12 percent.

= Safety projects and safe routes to school: $155 million, 10 percent.

= Money to county and cities for transportation projects: $155 million, 10 percent.

= Senior and disabled mass transit: $115 million, 7 percent.

= Solano Transportation Improvement Authority administration/finance: $15 million, 1 percent.

If the tax is approved, Solano would become one of several "self-help" Bay Area counties that have approved transportation-related sales tax measures. The hope is that the county will move up the funding list for projects if it provides matching funds with other sources.

Opponents of the tax call it extortion, but the reality is that state funding for transit projects remain fallow without those local contributions.

Perhaps a fairer method to fund transportation projects would be through a beefed-up gasoline tax, but that's wishful thinking. Gas taxes have lagged far below inflation levels for years and combined with higher-mileage cars on the road today, revenue generated by state and federal gas taxes would have to be more than doubled to provide any funding relief for transit projects.

Vote yes on Measure H. It's a sound investment.

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