The Fresno County Transportation Authority board on Wednesday approved the Measure C spending plan for next year.
Measure C is the countywide half-cent sales tax devoted to funding various transportation projects. Officials estimate the tax will generate $82.23 million in Fiscal Year 2019-2020 beginning July 1. Interest income is estimated at $3.8 million.
Total: $86.03 million.
Among the key appropriations approved by the board, with comments from a staff report:
1.) Regional Transportation Program – Urban Projects Category: $13,336,579.
“This is a ‘holding category for urban capital transportation projects. Not project specific. As a project comes on line and is approved by the Authority, funds will be allocated to the correct category….”
2.) Regional Transportation Program – Rural Projects Category: $13,044,579.
“This is a ‘holding’ category for rural capital transportation projects….”
3.) Regional Public Transit Program – New Technology Reserve Category: $1,953,654.
4.) Alternative Transportation Program – Rail Consolidation Category: $5,818,583.
5.) Local Allocation for Street Maintenance, Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance, etc.: $24,926,674.
6.) Pedestrian and Bicycle Trails: $2,525,250.
7.) Bicycle Facilities: $733,137.
8.) Public Transit Services (such as FAX and Clovis Transit): $16,014,980.
9.) Public Transportation Infrastructure Study: $236,233.
10.) Ag-Worker/Car/Van Pool: $944,932.
The original Measure C went from 1987 to 2007. It took two tries, but voters in 2006 approved another 20-year term ending in 2027. The FCTA board on Wednesday approved the 13th annual budget of the 20-year extension.
Local transportation officials are already considering strategies to get voter approval of another 20-year extension. FCTA Executive Director Mike Leonardo told me on Wednesday that he expects to add just such a topic to the board’s August agenda.
“We don’t want to wait to the last minute,” Leonardo said.
Translation: Transportation is vital to Fresno County’s future. Transportation is both varied and expensive. Measure C is viewed by most voters as a success (77.7% of those going to the polls voted for the extension on the second go-around). But a tax is a tax. It takes time and focus to convince taxpayers to continue taxing themselves.