Local Funds for Local Roads
Funding streets and roads
Local roads are the most basic unit of the transportation network because they connect our neighborhoods and business districts and provide linkages to major roads and transportation services, yet funding to maintain and improve our local roads falls far short of the need. Traditional state and federal sources, such as gas taxes, raise less than half of what is needed to meet local transportation needs.
New and local source of funds for roads needed
In order to help fix local roads and make sidewalks and paths safe and accessible for school children and people with disabilities, the RTC investigated placing a $10 Vehicle Registration Fee on the November 2012 ballot; however decided at its August 2, 2012 meeting not to move forward with a ballot measure this fall. The measure would have dedicated funds to helping address at least some of the significant backlog of transportation needs and deteriorating street conditions throughout Santa Cruz County. The RTC will continue to work with the community to identify strategies to address funding shortfalls, including a local tax measure for a future election.
Highlights of the Proposed Ballot Measure
While no longer under consideration for November 2012, highlights of the measure included:
- $10 Vehicle Registration Fee (VRF) for Santa Cruz County transportation
- Would generate over $2 million countywide each year
- Dedicated revenues solely to local road repairs, safety projects near schools and sidewalk access f or people with disabilities
- Funds distributed to cities/county based on population, would not replace existing funds and can only be used for these purposes
- Would have made a solid dent in the backlog of potholes to be fixed
What would it fund?
- Fix potholes and maintain local streets and roads to the benefit of all users, including drivers, bus riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians
- Create safe pedestrian routes to schools for students and provide safe and accessible crosswalks, ramps, and sidewalks for seniors and people with disabilities.
- State and federal funds are unreliable, waiting for these funds to solve the problem equates to doing nothing
- VRF funds can be used as matching funds to leverage additional state/federal funds
- Streets and roads serve a wide cross section of users including people who: drive cars, use other modes, and those unable to drive due to age/income/ability
- Deferred maintenance costs five times more over time
The proposed Vehicle Registration Fee is a key part of a multipronged strategy to develop a balanced, sensible program that improves local transportation infrastructure. The RTC may reconsider this or some other funding measure for a future election.
We need your input!
- Share your ideas on how to address transportation priorities in light of the shortfall of revenues. Attend meetings, email or call us with your input.
Senior Transportation Planner