Letter writer Gloria Hebert argues that a $3.45 gallon of gas pays 60 cents in taxes for roads and transit, and “Sacramento is swimming in cash for transportation”. If it was only true! When gas was under $2 fifteen years ago we already paid 60 cents in taxes, and when the gallon reaches $5 in a not-so-distant future we will still be paying 60 cents regardless of fuel cost or inflation.
The truth is that fuel taxes, which are fixed, no longer pay their way for transportation needs and they have not done so for at least 20 years. That is why 18 counties in California supplement transportation funding with sales taxes. Santa Barbara County has been doing so since 1989 with Measure D, which will be on the November ballot for renewal.
The commuter nightmare south of town is a daily reminder that we need to fund the “101-In-Motion Plan” agreed to by the community and its elected leaders. It is a balanced and far-reaching plan to address congestion by increasing road, rail and transit capacity in a sustainable way: for our present needs and those of our children.
Roads, streets and sidewalks have maintenance needs that are paid for with Measure D. These needs are not going away. The carnage on our streets reminds us that, sadly, Safe Routes to School are not.
Measure D is a local tax for local use. If you want to experience life without Measure D you need to go no further than Ventura or San Luis Obispo, two counties that do not have this tax.
We cannot rely on Caltrans or the State. Measure D will provide matching funds to access State bonds and Federal programs. We have a choice: to complain about things that need doing, or to put our money where our collective mouth is.
-Alex Pujo, Secretary COAST