Monterey Herald : “Third Time A Charm for TAMC Sales Tax Measure”

Monterey County >> For the third time in a decade, a transportation sales tax aimed at securing a local funding source for a range of highway, road and alternative transportation improvements will go before the voters, this time in the form of 30-year, 3/8-cent, $600 million Measure X on the Nov. 8 presidential election ballot.

Supporters swear this time they have a real chance to surpass the difficult two-thirds voter approval threshold that has resulted in the demise of past such measures. They note broad and nearly unanimous support from a wide swath of community organizations representing everything from hospitality and agriculture to environmental interests and even a taxpayer association. They credit that backing largely to an effort to divvy up the expected sales tax revenue among a range of transportation-related priorities intended to benefit every community.

The Measure X campaign is also already more than two-thirds toward its $300,000 fundraising goal, which it plans to use on a direct mail, radio and possibly TV ad effort in support. It will likely out-spend a much smaller opposition campaign by at least 200-to-1.

Supervisor John Phillips, the Measure X campaign chairman and a member of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County board that created the tax measure, said he believes the measure is poised to do better than previous tax proposals that failed in 2006 and 2008.

“I think this is the best chance we’ve got,” Phillips said. “I think people are realizing with the diminution of the gas tax and our roads crumbling, we need this money.

“The TAMC board did a good job of finding a balance, every area has something to benefit them. We reached out to all groups, including the environmental community, this time, and instead of opposition we have support.”

Monterey city councilman Ed Smith, who serves on the Measure X campaign committee, said there are indications voters are more open to a transportation sales tax.

“I think voters are in a better place now,” Smith said.

Phillips said the measure’s biggest challenge is the size of the fall ballot. In all, there are two dozen local measures, including 21 that include taxes or bonds. He said voters generally express support for the measure when they’re told it will “fix roads.”


To read the full extensive story written by Jim Johnson, for the Monterey Herald, click onto