EVP Newsletter 1-31-17
How Does $1.7 Billion Worth Of Road Repair In Sonoma County Sound?
As many of you may be aware, I have been serving on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Sonoma County Transportation Authority for the past several years. Our duties include reviewing all income and expenditures for the Measure M Sales Tax that has been fueling the most visible roadwork in Sonoma County-the Highway 101 widening project. Many of you might not be aware that of the $22.83 million in sales tax revenue going to Measure M for Fiscal Year 2015-2016, 40% went to Highway 101, 20% went to Local Road Rehabilitation, 4% went to Bike and Pedestrian Paths, and the final 5% went to SMART projects having to do with crossing projects.
The previous paragraph was good news-right? Well here is some not so good news-the Measure M Ballot Measure expires in 2025. No more $22.83 million going to Highway 101 and Local (all nine cities in Sonoma County plus County roads) road rehabilitation. Here is the other bad news-since bonds were issued for most of the Highway 101 work, there is debt service on the bonds-the debt service cost totaled over $9 million in Fiscal Year 2015-2016 for Measure M.
The matching grant funding programs are complex, and seem to constantly be in a state of “tug of war”. I will not go into them here. Suffice to say, the Measure M projects are quickly approaching $1 Billion in Contract value in the last 15 years. This despite the total sales tax coming in totals less than $300 Million during that same time period. The SCTA has done a great job getting other dollars to help out our “self-help” Measure the voters passed in 2004. Yet there is a lot more to do, and Measure M funding has all but been spent without completing HOV lanes from Sonoma to Marin. We are a few key stretches short of completion. What to do?
Despite our “beat down” from Measure A efforts two years ago, we are still working towards an extension of Measure M sales tax measure with some potentially major “tweaks” to the Measure. Electeds now seem to be talking the same language, and that language currently is to go to the voters in November of 2018 with the Measure M Extension to the year 2045. Here is the most popular scenario as of right now-
*The current Measure M stays in place until it expires in 2025 with ¼ Cent sales tax cost
*The “New Measure M Extension will be ½ cent from the year 2019-2045 with the existing Measure M accounting for ¼ cent of that ½ cent total from 2019 through 2025.
Bottom line-sales tax would be ½ cent from 2019 through 2045 total. Accounting for an increasing population which would increase purchasing with sales tax being assessed, that 26 year total sales tax income is estimated to be $1.7 Billion vs the estimated $161,000,000 remaining under the current Measure M sales tax measure.
*The Percentages of where the funds would go would be modified as follows:
- Instead of the current 40% going to Highway 101 widening, a smaller amount would be needed-say 22.5% would get the HOV lanes completed.
- Instead of the current 20% going to local road rehabilitation (the nine cities in Sonoma County plus the unincorporated roads in Sonoma County), that would go to about 62.5% or more.
- The 5% for SMART which is currently part of the existing Measure M would go away to 0%
- Bike paths/pedestrian paths and bus transit would remain about the same as current percentages (somewhere around 15%).
Needless to say, if this “idea” becomes reality, you can say goodbye to crappy roads in every city in Sonoma County and we would have High Occupancy Lanes all the way through Sonoma County to Marin County!
(For more information on how Measure M dollars have been spent, are being spent, and will be spent, go to www.scta.ca.gov)
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
More Highway 101 News:
On Monday, January 30, SCTA announced they have funding in place for Highway 101 B2 Phase 2 which is a $35 million estimated cost project that runs south from the s. Petaluma Blvd area. This will be going out to bid before the end of the 2017 year!! This enables Caltrans to activate the HOV lanes from Hwy 116 Lakeville to Marin County by the end of 2019. This is a key piece that sat unfunded until Jake McKenzie and Suzanne Smith figured out how to “cobble” together funding from the “no longer needed” Port of Sonoma terminal, the refinancing of existing bonds already issued, and a few other sources. Way to go Suzanne Smith and Jake McKenzie! If you would like to email them to say “Thank You”, you can find their email addresses on our website at www.nceca.org under “Links” then “Agencies” and go to SCTA and MTC.