Doldrums of measure D

Members of the Board of Supervisors said next to nothing after
listening to 20 speakers blister efforts to expand or renew Measure
D — the half-cent sales tax surcharge that has funded most road
improvements countywide since 1989. Most of the speakers complained
Measure D gravely neglected buses, trains, bikes, and other forms
of alternative transportation and vowed to oppose it unless this
changed. Others countered that the proposed spending plan — slated
to appear on the November ballot — wouldn’t do enough for freeway
widening. At a time when the Santa Barbara County Association of
Governments (SBCAG) is desperate for constructive guidance, the
county supervisors — with the exception of Salud Carbajal — bit
their tongues. Carbajal said he supported a three-quarter cent
sales tax increase that should go to voters as just that, rather
than the A+B plan now proposed, which would allow voters to approve
a renewal of the existing sales tax in A, and an accompanying
quarter-cent expansion in B.

The Carpinteria City Council was far more forthcoming, arguing
the money would be much better spent on expanding bus service than
on the commuter rail line championed by many alternative
transportation advocates. And by a 3-2 vote, the Carp Council
denied a motion to renounce any increase in Measure D. Meanwhile,
members of the S.B. Council strongly supported the tax
increase — with two councilmembers arguing for a penny
increase — and expressed skepticism that the A+B approach will fly
with voters. The matter goes to the SBCAG board for an all-day
session on April 5 devoted to devising a spending plan.

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