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Election 2012: California communities to decide transportation funding
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

In about one week voters in three northern California communities will decide whether to boost transportation funding through taxes and bonds.

Voters in the city of Berkeley will decide whether to borrow $30 million with a portion being used to improve local roads.

If approved, Measure M would cost homeowners about $11 per $100,000 of assessed value during the next 30 years. A two-thirds majority is required for approval of city bonds.

Supporters say the city needs to repair streets but existing funds and funding sources are not enough to keep up. They say that acting now will allow them to take advantage of lower costs.

Opponents say the ballot question does not provide enough money for the city of 114,000 people to adequately address their needs. Instead, they want to wait to act when all needs can be addressed.

Ballots in nearby Vacaville will include a question about whether to continue the city’s existing excise tax. The tax, which would be extended for another 25 years, generates $2.3 million annually.

Measure I on the citywide ballot would benefit “essential city services,” including road maintenance.

A short drive south on Interstate 80 in the city of Fairfield voters will decide on a sales tax question to raise about $12 million a year.

Measure P would impose a one-cent sales tax on goods and services within the city for five years. Among the projects that would benefit include road and median maintenance, as well as street lighting.

Supporters say the tax increase is needed to avoid budget cuts. Opponents dismiss the claim as a scare tactic.

For more 2012 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to state_legislative_editor@ooida.com.

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