The Santa Cruz County Business Council has voted to formally endorse the half cent transportation sales tax measure being considered by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.
February 5th (Santa Cruz, CA) The Santa Cruz County Business Council (SCCBC) took a formal vote to endorse the expenditure plan that was adopted by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) for a countywide half cent sales tax measure that would be used to fund local transportation projects. The expenditure (investment) plan outlines five core project areas: Neighborhood Projects, Highway Corridors, Mobility Access, Rail Corridor, and Coastal Rail Trail. With the formal endorsement of the spending plan the SCCBC joins a growing number of organizations in the County who have come out in support of the measure.
“Our members recognize the dire need for additional transportation funds in the County”, says Sid Slatter, President of Slatter Construction and Chair of the SCCBC. “Not only is our current transportation system making it harder to move goods and services around, it severely impacts the quality of life for our employees and their families in Santa Cruz County.”
With state and federal revenues available for transportation projects in Santa Cruz County diminishing and unreliable, the RTC adopted a funding strategy as part of their Regional Transportation Plan to meet more of the region’s transportation needs. Included in the adopted plan is the pursuit of a local funding mechanisms that establishes Santa Cruz County as a “self help” county where local, independent, secure revenue is used for local projects and programs and cannot be taken by the state. These local funds can also be used to leverage additional state and federal funding, when available. Since approval of the long range transportation plan in June 2014, the RTC has taken steps to place a half cent sales tax transportation ballot measure on the November 2016 presidential ballot. A super (2/3) majority of voters in Santa Cruz County must approve the transportation measure.
The Santa Cruz County Business Council has taken an active role in helping to move a potential measure toward the ballot. SCCBC members contributed funds for polling of likely voters last May, provided extensive input to RTC staff and board members, and have spoken in favor of the measure at public meetings. SCCBC members and staff have also engaged in critical discussions with other organizations likely to support the measure, including Friends of the Rail Trail, Ecology Action, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, and the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce; in an effort to build a broad coalition of business and environmental interests.
“It comes down to a matter of fairness”, says SCCBC Executive Director Casey Beyer. “The lower income residents, senior citizens, and the disabled rely on a more efficient transportation network and all residents of the county will benefit from this investment plan.” Mr. Beyer further states the measure is essential to the future of transportation in Santa Cruz, telling members that even though you favor one spending option over others, the whole package gives the county the best opportunity to fund our transportation needs into the future.