The Pacific Surfliner — the Amtrak commuter train that makes several daily trips between Paso Robles and San Diego via Santa Barbara and Los Angeles — posted a record number of travelers this spring. From April through June, 703,857 fuel-conscious people rode the train. The Surfliner features five daily roundtrips between Santa Barbara and San Diego, and 12 daily roundtrips between San Diego and Los Angeles.

State Assemblymember Pedro Nava and Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce President Kristen Amyx announced their support for Measure D, the $1.6 billion countywide traffic congestion relief measure. Nava said Measure D would help reduce pollution because it would reduce freeway congestion. Addressing criticism that Measure D will be funded by a quarter-cent sales tax increase, Nava stated, “It’s a little-known fact that on average California residents spend $550 a year on vehicle repair because of bad road conditions.” A large chunk of Measure D revenues will be spent on road repair and maintenance. A significant amount will also be spent on commuter rail, bus service, bike lanes, and safer pedestrian routes to schools.

Measure D supporters had reportedly raised $167,000 as of September 30. The two biggest donations came from Union Asphalt and Granite Construction, which contributed $30,000 and $49,000, respectively. Executives from the two companies — which both stand to land substantial road repair and maintenance contracts should Measure D pass — noted the quarter-cent sales tax increase would be good for business countywide. Andy Caldwell of COLAB (the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business) is campaigning against the measure in objection to some of the projects it funds. Granite Construction and other members of COLAB have resigned from the organization because of this difference of opinion. The Coalition Against Measure D — led by libertarian-leaning scholar Lanny Ebenstein — had raised $1,125. The biggest donors were the Santa Barbara Republican Club of Carpinteria and Preston Hotchkiss of the Bixby Land Company, who both gave $250.

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