ELECTION 2018: Voters in California's Central Coast will soon decide on aid for roads

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Nov. 6 ballot in multiple locales on California’s Central Coast will include questions to raise more than $20 million each year for roads.

Ballots in San Benito County will include a question to authorize the county to increase the 7.25-cent sales tax by 1 cent.

Measure G on the ballot would dedicate revenue from the tax increase to roads and transportation. Specifically, the money would be used to repair potholes and maintain roads; widen Highway 25 to relieve traffic congestion; improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit options; and qualify for state and federal matching funds.

The tax would raise an estimated $16 million annually over 30 years. About half of the revenue would be used for work on Highway 25. Most of the remaining would be routed to maintain local roads, repair potholes, and improve traffic flow.

An argument statement in favor of the measure states “roads are crumbling, and traffic is getting worse every day.” It adds that traffic on Highway 25 has more than doubled since the 1990s.

“Our poor pavement condition makes us just one of seven California counties whose roads rank significantly worse than the state average.”

To take effect, two-thirds of all voters in the county would need to cast ballots in favor of the question.

Ballots in two Monterey County locales also include questions to benefit transportation work.

Voters in the city of Monterey will decide whether to extend the local sales tax dedicated for road repairs and other purposes at the current rate of 1 cent for eight years.

The four-year tax approved by voters in November 2014 is set to expire in April 2019.

Measure S would raise about $8 million annually.

Two-thirds of voters in the city must vote in favor of the tax extension for passage.

The ballot in the city of Marina will include two questions to benefit road projects.

Measure N would authorize the Monterey Peninsula’s northern most city to increase the local sales tax by one-half cent for 15 years. The tax estimated to raise $4.9 million annually would be used to fund general city purposes that include road repairs and maintenance.

Passage of Measure P would increase the 12 percent hotel tax by 2 percent to 14 percent for general city services. The change would benefit projects that include road repairs and maintenance.

The sales tax increase is estimated to raise $3.7 million annually. Unprepared food items and prescription drugs are exempt from the tax.

The tax rate would stay in effect until repealed by voters.

A simple majority of votes are needed for both measures to pass.

Ballots in Santa Cruz County will include a question to raise the sales tax by one-half cent to 9 percent in the unincorporated area of the county for general city purposes.

The county’s current sales tax on retail transactions is set at 8.5 percent.

Measure G would authorize collection of the increased tax for 12 years. Among the uses of the increased tax are local street repairs.

The tax is estimated to raise $5.75 million annually.

For more 2018 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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