The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) voted Thursday to split potential Measure D money between North and South County after taking roughly $140 million off the top for a Highway 101 widening project between Santa Barbara and Ventura. The remaining $910 million will then be divvied out by the regional subcommittees to local and regional projects how each sees fit. Of course, two-thirds of voters must give the okay to extend the transportation sales tax.
Should voters elect to back the one-half percent transportation sales tax in November 2008, SBCAG staff expects $1.05 billion to be raised over the next 30 years by the tax. Many jurisdictions use Measure D funds as their only source for road improvements.
Vast differences between the ideals of the North and South parts of the county led organizers to assemble the new plan. A plan for Measure D which appeared on the 2006 ballot was heavy on regional projects and had strong support in the South County, but came nowhere close to getting votes it needed in North County. The SBCAG staff is confident that splitting up the funds for the subcommittees’ discretion is the way to go. “I think we’re going down the right path,” said SBCAG’s Gregg Hart.
In the coming months, the exact details of the measure will be hammered out by the two subcommittees through a public stakeholder process.