About the 2016 Transportation Ballot Measure D
With state and federal transportation revenues diminishing and unreliable, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is pursuing local funding to address some of the most pressing transportation needs while also planning for more sustainable options.
Measure D: The Safety, Pothole Repair, Traffic Relief, Transit Improvement Measure will fix and maintain our deteriorating roads; provide paratransit services for seniors and those with disabilities; build the rail trail for children to safely bike and walk to school, commuters to bike to work, and families to exercise; reduce traffic on Highway 1, and build bike and walking bridges over the Highway; as well as fund a comprehensive rail transit analysis.
Measure D is a balanced compromise that shifts the current funding paradigm towards sustainable transportation as 60% of the funds ($300 million) goes to alternative transportation. 20% ($100 million) goes to safety projects, and 20% ($100 million) to Highway 1 auxiliary lanes.
Measure D will be the single largest source of funding to not only build the rail trail but also to maintain it over 30 years. The trail is within one mile of 44 schools along our coast from Davenport to Watsonville.
Measure D will:
- Invest in bicycle and pedestrian pathways (32-mile Rail Trail)
- Provide safer routes to schools for children to bike and walk in our community;
- Fill potholes and improve safety on local streets for all users;
- Maintain mobility and independence for seniors and those with disabilities;
- Build 2 walking and biking bridges over Highway 1;
- Improve traffic flow on Highway 1;
- Provide a safe wildlife crossing on Highway 17;
- Invest in transportation projects that reduce the pollution that causes climate change.
The county and local cities are losing the battle against deteriorating roads with stagnate and shrinking revenue for basic road repair and maintenance. Pothole riddled and crumbling pavement means greater wear and tear on tires, shocks, alignment and your car in general. It also increases road hazards for all users including motorists, cyclists, walkers, skateboarders, etc. Recent El Nino storms have worsened the impact and the quality of our roads and streets.
Paratransit Cuts for Seniors & Disabled
State and federal funding cuts have left some of the most vulnerable of our community without reliable and reasonable priced transportation. Paratransit services for seniors and those with disabilities are increasing in cost while services are being cut back. This service is literally a lifeline to the outside world for many in our community. Measure D assures this service will continue at affordable rates.
Santa Cruz County has some of the highest bike and pedestrian injury and fatality crash rates in the state. Compared to similar California cities, Santa Cruz City ranks in the top 3 of most bike crashes and Watsonville ranks in the top 3 for pedestrian crashes over the past ten years. In a recent poll 60% of locals said they would bike but they don’t feel safe or comfortable riding on busy streets but would ride if there was a safe, car-free option.
Highway 1 Congestion
The morning commute along Highway 1 is a slow slog for folks from Watsonville to Soquel heading to Santa Cruz and just as miserable ride home in the afternoon. Our main roadway carries some 100,000 vehicles a day. Measure D will offer some relief by improving traffic flow on our busiest roadway.
These are some of the transportation woes we face as locals. Is there some relief in sight? Yes, we can get everyone moving!
Measure D addresses five general categories reflecting the diverse travel needs in our community. While some people want to ride their bike to more places, others depend on transit service to get to their doctor’s appointments and the grocery store. Many are regularly stuck in traffic on our highways and local roads, and there is growing concern about our deteriorating roads.
For similar reasons, counties across the state containing 81% of California’s population have already voted for a transportation sales tax measure, by at least a two-thirds majority vote. The RTC, in cooperation with the County Board of Supervisors, will place Measure D on the November 2016 ballot for a 30 year, ½ cent sales tax so that Santa Cruz County can have the opportunity to join the majority of California counties and secure funds that will be locally controlled and not at risk of being taken away by the State. These locally generated funds will also enable our local cities and county to be more competitive for state and federal transportation funds.
Measure D is balanced and inclusive, featuring five project categories: Neighborhood projects, highway corridors, mobility access, coastal rail trail, and rail corridor. Take a look at the RTC website for more information about the Measure’s categories.