If Proposition 6 passes, Californians should brace for deteriorating road conditions.

The Monterey County Weekly printed the following article written by TAMC Board Chair John Phillips, in their October 4, 2018 edition of the newspaper:

If Proposition 6 passes, Californians should brace for deteriorating road conditions.

This Nov. 6, voters have a weighty decision to make for our state and for Monterey County: We can vote to maintain funding for needed transportation projects or we can vote to reduce gas taxes    and reduce road repairs. Voters face this choice because Proposition 6 will repeal over $5 billion new annual transportation funding approved by the California State Legislature in 2017.

Having adequate funding is the single biggest challenge to repairing our roads and making our transportation network safer; for that reason, the board of directors for the Transportation Agency for Monterey County voted in August to officially oppose Proposition 6.

Proposition 6 would repeal SB 1, a 12-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, with revenues earmarked for transportation-related improvements. It sets goals statewide by 2027 to have at least 98 percent of state highway pavement in good or fair condition, and to fix at least 500 bridges, among other things.

What does Proposition 6 mean for Monterey County? If it passes, drivers and car owners should see a moderate reduction in the gas tax and various vehicle fees, but that savings would come at a cost: Monterey County stands to lose tens of millions of dollars every year in guaranteed funding for local roads.

The benefits of this new funding can already be seen, as cities across Monterey County repave their streets, and Caltrans completes improvements to Highways 68, 101 and 183 this year. More repairs are planned – but only if there is funding available.

Monterey County voters know how important transportation funding is. In 2016, voters passed MeasureX, a local sales tax dedicated to transportation. Measure X enables Monterey County to seek matching funds from the state – but only if state funding is available.

Proposition 6 will eliminate the primary source of matching funds for Measure X safety and congestion relief projects.

Some of those Measure X projects in line for state funding include: an interchange at Highway 156 and Castroville Boulevard; Highway 101 frontage roads south of Salinas; widening Imjin Parkway at a chronic chokepoint in Marina; and projects to reduce congestion on Highway 68 between Salinas and Monterey, as well as along Highway 1 in Seaside and Marina.

All of these projects will be at risk of delay, downsizing or permanent hold if Prop. 6 is passed, unless or until some new source of funding is found.

When they mark their ballots, voters should carefully consider the impact that Proposition 6 will have, by taking away funding from local streets and roads.

John Phillips is a Monterey County supervisor and is chair of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County.