Fresno · Politics

Facing do-or-die deadline, Fresno Co. cities OK renewal of Measure C

It increasingly looks like Measure C will head to the November ballot in Fresno County, with a twist.

Measure C, first passed in 1986 and renewed in 2006 for another 20-year term, is a half-cent sales tax to provide for transportation and infrastructure improvements throughout Fresno County. 

The Fresno County Transportation Authority is pushing to renew Measure C for 30 years, with the renewal coming ahead of schedule this year since current polling shows vast support from voters. 

After postponing its meeting for a week due to technical issues with its Zoom feed, the Fresno Council of Governments Policy Board approved an alternative plan submitted by City of Fresno officials, led by a public and private campaign from Fresno City Councilmen Miguel Arias and Tyler Maxwell, on Thursday. 

With the Measure C renewal plan approved, it heads to the Fresno County Transportation Authority for its final endorsement before the Fresno County Board of Supervisors will take action to officially place it on the November ballot. 

The City of Fresno’s plan, which came after a couple weeks of negotiating, will see each of the county’s 15 incorporated cities gain funding over the life of the tax compared to what it would have been under the initial plan. 

The gains range from Fresno on the low-end at a 3.8 percent increase to Huron on the high-end with an 18.4 percent increase. 

The county will see its share drop by 15.5 percent, but to make up for its loss, Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero said the county intends to work hand-in-hand with the cities to utilize that extra money to ensure that county roads directly outside of city limits are not left behind. 

“To me, it’s about working for the betterment of Fresno County, and the City of Fresno proposal – yes, it was kind of a late notice – but it enhances to me the Measure C proposal to assist all of Fresno County and the opportunity to provide residents with a better quality of life,” Quintero said. 

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer called the plan a “reasonable alternative” in lieu of pushing the renewal effort back two years. 

Along with the increase in each city’s pot, the overall funding allocations by program remain the same in the adopted City of Fresno alternative plan from the initial plan as proposed by the Council of Governments. That breakdown is as follows: 

  • 51 percent for local and neighborhood streets
  • 18 percent for flexible local control 
  • 12 percent for public transit 
  • 15 percent for the regional program 
  • 1 percent for the pedestrian and bicycle program 
  • 2 percent for environmental enhancement 
  • 1 percent for administration

Social justice advocates decried the move by City of Fresno officials, calling the changes a move by “[p]oliticians… pushing a tax to line their pockets.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.