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Transportation Sales Tax Measure Supported By Voters

Preliminary results look good for the new transportation sales tax measure that, if passed, would replace Measure D.

According to the results of a countywide poll, Santa Barbara County could have a new transportation sales tax plan in 2011, after the current Measure D plan runs out next year, said Goleta Director of Community Services Steve Wagner to the Goleta City Council Monday night.

Called Measure A, the new tax would continue the soon-to-expire half-cent tax for another 30 years. It would pull in about $1 billion, distributed evenly to the North and South counties, with $1.4 million taken off the top for Highway 101 widening.

A poll conducted earlier this year for Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, proponents of this plan, yielded rather promising results, Wagner said. In a 603-person telephone poll of likely voters, Measure A got “significant support."

Its half-cent tax is what county locals are already paying for Measure D, and the distribution of funds appears to be more equitable than an early successor to Measure D, called Measure A+B, which failed in the 2006 ballot, he said.

A+B tacked on an extra quarter cent to the half-cent tax, and to many, seemed lopsided in its distribution of funds.

The new transportation sales tax still needs to win by a two-thirds plus one vote to pass this November. In the meantime SBCAG will be conducting outreach as they seek local governments to endorse the plan. The measure will not be in its final form until around June, but the Goleta City Council has been supportive so far.

“This is a stronger plan than we’ve had before,” said Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett.

The two regions can spend their $455 billion in ways that make more sense to them, said Wagner in his report. For the south county, 60 percent of the funds would go to local street maintenance and improvements, 38 percent would be dedicated to alternative transit. The remaining two percent would go to Goleta’s Highway 101 overpass projects and Carpinteria’s circulation projects. The north county, highways and interchanges, as well as local streets get the bulk of their funds.



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