The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously endorsed countywide plans to place a three-quarter cent sales tax on this November’s ballot and use the proceeds – $1.5 billion in 30 years – to fund freeway widening, road repairs, commuter rail, and alternative transportation projects. In so doing, Santa Barbara joined the councils of Lompoc, Santa Maria, Goleta, Guadalupe, Buellton, and the Board of Supervisors in supporting the renewal of an expanded Measure D, the countywide road improvement ballot measure initially passed in 1989. Still to sign on are the councils of Carpinteria and Solvang, where support for the proposal is far less certain. Even so, the measure has garnered the requisite support needed to be placed on the November ballot – the endorsement of government agencies representing a majority of the county’s population. Making the matter politically challenging is the quarter-cent tax increase included in the new Measure D – the existing measure is a half-cent sales tax – and the two-thirds majority required for passage.

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