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Tuesday, January 15 , 2019, 8:36 pm | Overcast 56º


Measure A Riding Road to Victory

The countywide transportation initiative garners nearly 80 percent approval, according to unofficial results.

It appears Santa Barbara County voters on Tuesday approved Measure A, a transportation initiative that would continue, for 30 years, a half-cent sales tax that is set to expire in 2010. 

With 99.7 percent of the precincts reporting, the initiative, which needed two-thirds majority approval to pass, had garnered 78.65 percent.

The measure — which had the support of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association, as well as Supervisors Brooks Firestone, a Republican, and Salud Carbajal, a Democrat — would generate about $1 billion, to be split between the South Coast and the North County on transportation projects such as widening Highway 101, repairing potholes and expanding bus services.

Officials from MTD, whose city buses serve riders from Carpinteria to the western reaches of Goleta, has said that Measure A’s failure at the polls would put a $4 million hole in its $22 million annual budget, and lead to line closures. They also have said the measure’s defeat would jeopardize plans for a new downtown transit center on Chapala Street.

Supporters of Measure A have said its passage would smooth the way for the widening of Highway 101, to three lanes in each direction between Montecito and Carpinteria.

On the South Coast, other projects would include:

» $273 million for local street improvements.

» $25 million to maintain and expand commuter buses between the South Coast and North County, and to and from Ventura.

» $13 million to enhance bicycle and pedestrian routes to schools.

» $13 million to expand the regional bike-and-pedestrian network.

» $7 million to expand commuter carpool and vanpool programs.

» $6 million to reduce transit fares for the elderly.

Because of a state law passed in the 1990s making it more difficult for localities to tax themselves, the passage of Measure A requires the support of two-thirds of the voters; its 1989 predecessor, Measure D, needed just a simple majority.

Click here for complete Santa Barbara County results.

Noozhawk staff writer Rob Kuznia can be reached at [email protected]

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