Fall ballots in about a dozen counties throughout California will include questions to raise billions for transportation purposes.
Monterey County is among those locales with voters casting ballots on such questions. Voters in the coastal county south of San Jose will decide on Nov. 8 whether to approve a 30-year, $600 million sales tax question.
Passage of Measure X would authorize a three-eighths percent sales tax to benefit local road maintenance and benefit transit and pedestrian projects.
An estimated 60 percent of tax revenue, or $360 million, would be applied to local projects. The remaining 40 percent, or $240 million, would be used for regional projects such as improvements to the Monterey-Salinas Highway 68.
Revenue for local projects would be allocated to cities and the county for road repairs and safety projects based upon 50 percent population and 50 percent lane miles.
Advocates say that passage of the sales tax can be leveraged to get state and federal grants. Specifically, collections of a local tax would result in the designation as a self-help county.
The self-help designation means counties have a local, secure, and independent transportation funding mechanism. There are 20 counties in the state that collect local sales taxes to aid local transportation work.
Supporters also say projects would be completed to reduce congestion in the county of nearly 430,000.
In neighboring Santa Cruz County, ballots will include a question to raise the local sales tax by one-half cent over 30 years. Measure D would raise an estimated $500 million in tax revenue for road and highway improvements, and transit and pedestrian projects.
About 25 percent, or $4.1 million annually, would be used on highway corridors. Another 30 percent, or $5 million, would be applied to street and road maintenance, as well as safety improvements.
Critics say that projects including the addition of auxiliary lanes to sections of Highway 1 to alleviate traffic are unnecessary.