- What was the Measure G process all about?
- Does the Measure G Expenditure Plan align with the mission, vision, and goals of our County’s transportation needs?
- How will Measure G funds be used?
- Is the Measure G Expenditure Plan based on our most significant transportation needs?
- Is Route 25 a shared responsibility?
- What are the Measure G local neighborhood road plans?
- What about Highway 156?
- What is the actual Measure G question voters will be asked to decide on in November?
- What about developer fees — do builders pay their fair share?
- Doesn’t the County have a transportation budget for fixes like these? Doesn’t the state help fund projects like this?
- Why are local funds important? What is a self-help county?
- How much will Measure G cost?
- How can we be assured that Measure G funds will be spent properly?
- Can you tell me more about the Measure G Citizens' Oversight Committee?
- If voters approve Measure G, when will the work begin?
- Who makes the final decision on Measure G?
- Who is eligible to vote on Measure G?
Over the past year San Benito County’s regional transportation planning agency (COG), engaged with the San Benito County community in a two-way conversation regarding significant transportation needs in the region. From those conversations, a community-built expenditure plan was built, called the San Benito County Roads and Transportation Safety Investment Plan. This plan evaluates, addresses, and provides solutions for major transportation issues throughout San Benito County, including relieving traffic congestion on Route 25, maintaining and repairing local streets and roads, increasing pedestrian and bike safety, and protecting and enhancing bus and paratransit services for residents, including seniors, people with disabilities, and youth.
Does the Measure G Expenditure Plan align with the mission, vision, and goals of our County’s transportation needs?
The Expenditure Plan is guided by the Board adopted Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) 2040. The RTP 2040 identifies $1.8B in transportation needs for our region between 2018 and 2040, including fully funded projects like 156. The detailed Roads and Transportation Safety and Investment Plan addresses our funding shortfall for critical projects by ensuring stable local funds that qualify us for State and Federal matching funds.
Funds from Measure G will be used to:
- Route 25: Average daily traffic at the San Benito/Santa Clara County line has more than doubled since the mid 1990s. We have made significant improvements, but we need four lanes. A four lane expressway and safer intersections on Route 25 will reduce traffic congestion and increase safety.
- Maintain Local Streets and Roads: San Benito County roads are crumbling under the weight of decades of underinvestment due to funding deficiencies. Our region is one of seven counties in the state to have an average pavement condition of 46, well below “at risk,” and significantly worse than the statewide average. Well maintained streets and roads will improve safety and traffic flow on local roads.
- Repair potholes.
- Increase pedestrian and bike safety.
- Protect and enhance bus and paratransit services for seniors, people with disabilities, and youth.
Based on community input and conversations held, we have established which needs are most important to San Benito County residents and developed a tiered, needs-based priority list from feedback received. Tier 1 consists of a four-lane expressway and safer intersections on Route 25 to relieve traffic congestion. Tier 2 projects include maintaining local roads, repairing potholes, and improving traffic flow throughout the county. Tier 3 includes other areas identified as critical needs, including pedestrian and bicycle safety; mobility, bus and paratransit services for seniors, people with disabilities, and youth; administration (capped at 1 percent); and future planning and contingency.
Route 25 is a shared responsibility between state transportation agencies, federal transportation agencies, and our local San Benito County. Santa Clara County voters have recently taxed themselves to improve the 25/101 interchange by 2024. Making 25 a 4-lane expressway with safe intersections includes state and federal matching funds, and traffic impact fees, to ensure they pay their fair share.
The community-built Measure G Roads and Transportation Safety Investment Plan was built with input from all areas of the region, including community members from the City of Hollister, the City of San Juan Bautista, and unincorporated San Benito County. The plan includes local street and road repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation to improve safety and traffic flow throughout San Benito County, including the City of Hollister, the City of San Juan Bautista, and the unincorporated areas of San Benito County including Aromas, Ridgemark, Tres Pinos, Bitterwater, and Dunneville. The specific local neighborhood street and road maintenance projects are based on the priorities outlined in the pavement index study and capital improvement projects of each jurisdiction, and will be re-evaluated on an annual basis with repairs occurring annually. To see the specific list of projects that are included, but not limited to, please see the detailed plan here: http://sanbenitocog.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Final-TSIP-June-7-2018-Reduced-Size-PDF-for-Email.pdf
Highway 156 does have needs that are being addressed, including widening the road to four lanes, but those improvements have already been fully funded by state highway funds and fees paid by developers building new homes in San Benito County. New residential and commercial building in the County has increased traffic on Highway 156 and developers are paying their fair share.
“Shall the voters authorize a San Benito County Roads and Transportation Safety and Investment Plan to: repair potholes and maintain roads; widen Highway 25 to relieve traffic congestion and make it safer; improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit options; and, qualify for state and federal matching funds by enacting a one cent sales tax, raising approximately $16,000,000 annually over 30 years, with annual audits, independent oversight, all funds spent locally, and a detailed expenditure plan?”
Our primary objective is to ensure that new development pays its fair share of the transportation costs associated with growth and the increased demand on the transportation network. New development (housing, commercial and industrial) pays for their fair share through our transportation impact mitigation program. Right now, each new house built requires payment into a fund for road improvements to fairly mitigate impact. Funds have been collected since the 1990s and have paid for other major road improvements with a $27 million investment. In 2019, $10 million of developer fees will help pay for the Highway 156 widening. In the future, we anticipate another $247 million will be collected over the next 22 years to add significant roadway improvements as well. Even with these funds, the burden is growing to adequately repair and upgrade our transportation system and infrastructure needs.
Doesn’t the County have a transportation budget for fixes like these? Doesn’t the state help fund projects like this?
The San Benito COG makes every effort to use resources wisely. With no locally controlled source of dollars, we struggle to compete for state and federal matching fund dollars. Even with SB1 and other funds, the burden is growing to adequately repair and upgrade our transportation system and infrastructure needs.
With local funds, we can choose our own transportation improvements, and the state cannot take the money away: we are helping ourselves. Many counties in California are “self-help” counties that leverage state and federal funds. In fact – our neighboring counties have all become self-help counties and a have a reliable source of local transportation funding to address their transportation needs. San Benito is not currently a “self-help” county but can join others around California in becoming one to qualify and compete for matching state and federal funds with the passage of Measure G.
Measure G is a one percent sales tax, which would raise about $16M per year. This revenue would be dependent on the economy and the amount of goods sold in San Benito County. Measure G will NOT apply to groceries, prescription medicine and certain medical devices. For example, the purchase of a $50 qualified item would add 50 cents to a purchase. Measure G would be paid by everyone in San Benito County including visitors. The City of Hollister is currently 8.25%, the City of San Juan is currently 8%, and Unincorporated County areas are 7.25%. Measure G is a detailed community-built plan based on our most important LOCAL transportation needs, and will qualify us for state and federal matching funds to leverage taxpayer dollars even further.
Taxpayer protections are REQUIRED. Every penny from this measure will benefit San Benito County’s transportation infrastructure ONLY. The funds will be controlled locally and cannot be taken away by the state. This measure requires independent citizens' oversight and reports to the community to ensure the funds are spent as promised. None of the money from this measure can be used to increase salaries, benefits or pensions for county employees.
If voters say Yes to Measure G to fix our roads and reduce traffic, a Citizens' Oversight Committee will be designated as the "Measure G Transportation Safety and Investment Plan Oversight Committee." The Expenditure Plan Oversight Committee shall include, at a minimum, representatives who are residents of the City of Hollister, the City of San Juan Bautista, and the unincorporated areas of San Benito County. They shall fairly represent the geographical, social, cultural and economic diversity of the County to ensure maximum benefits for roads and transportation users. Information and input from outside expert sources and staff will be solicited as necessary. Members shall be volunteers appointed by the locally elected Board of Directors and shall be residents who are neither elected officials of any government, not employees from any agency or organization that either oversees or benefits from the proceeds of the Roads and Transportation Safety Investment Plan. The Citizens' Oversight Committee shall meet at least once by no more than four times per year, and will serve staggered two year terms. Read more about the Citizens' Oversight Committee by reading page 7 of the Ordinance here http://sanbenitocog.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/COG-Ordinance-2018-01.pdf
Once the plan is approved, work will begin on the Tier I, II, and III projects listed in the San Benito County Roads and Transportation Safety and Investment Plan. A schedule for funding projects will be developed so they can be completed on time and within budget.
The locally elected Council of San Benito County Governments (COG) Board of Directors is the legal entity that placed Measure G on the ballot. Ultimately, San Benito County REGISTERED VOTERS will have the final say when they vote for Measure G on the November 2018 ballot.
All registered voters within San Benito County would be eligible to vote. Voters must register by October 22 to be eligible to vote in the November election.