MEASURE D (2016)


Measure D logo

Measure D Overview

In November 2016, over 2/3 of Santa Cruz County voters approved Measure D – a comprehensive and inclusive package of transportation improvements. The ½-cent, 30-year sales tax provides a steady, direct source of local funding for:

  • Providing safer routes to schools for local students
  • Maintaining mobility and independence for seniors and those with disabilities
  • Investing in bicycle and pedestrian pathways and bridges
  • Repaving roadways, repair potholes, and improve safety on local streets
  • Improving traffic flow on highways and major roadways
  • Investing in projects that reduce the pollution that causes global warming

As outlined in the approved by voters and shown in the Expenditure Plan, Measure D revenues are distributed to 5 categories of projects, with nearly half the funds allocated directly to Cities and the County of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz METRO, and Community Bridges Lift Line.

Recent Activities

  • The RTC held a public hearing on May 5, 2022, on spending plans for sales tax revenues designated for Highway and Active Transportation/Coastal Rail Trail investments. The RTC approved additional funding for trail Segments 7-12 between California Ave/Bay St in Santa Cruz and Rio Del Mar in the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Corridor, ongoing maintenance, the Highway 1-Freedom Blvd to State Park Drive auxiliary lanes, bus-on-should facilities, and new bike/ped crossings over Highway 1 in Aptos. The RTC agreed to secure financing if needed to accelerate project delivery and directed staff to continue discussions about railbanking. The RTC decision provides matching funding to leverage state and federal grants to construct the trail either adjacent to or in place of railroad tracks (ultimate/interim trail). (see agenda for staff report)
  • The Measure D-funded Highway 17 Wildlife Crossing is under construction! Learn more about the project here.
  • The Measure D Taxpayer Oversight Committee reviewed the Fiscal Year 2020/21 audits and expenditure reports from Measure D recipients at its March 30 and April 6, 2022 meetings.
  • Measure D Quarterly Update, March 2022
  • In October 2021 the RTC approved the Measure D 5-year Program of Projects for Regional Projects and Programs for FY21/22-25/26
  • Following a Public Hearing on May 6, 2021,  the RTC board approved the 5-year Program of Projects for Community Bridges/Lift Line (4% of Measure D revenues). The E&DTAC and RTC are scheduled to consider updates to the Lift Line plan at their May 2022 and June 2022 meetings, respectively.

5-Year Plans

What are the 5-Year Plans? Based on the Measure D Expenditure Plan, which identifies general categories of projects to receive certain percentages of funds over a 30-year time frame, all agencies designated to receive Measure D funds (including the Regional Transportation Commission) annually develop, update and adopt five-year project-delivery plan for investing these new transportation revenues.

Measure D 5-Year Plans for Regional Projects
The RTC Measure D 5-year plans show how the RTC anticipates distributing voter-approved Measure D revenues over the next 5 years for Regional Projects. The RTC approved updates to the Highway Corridors and Active Transportation/Coastal Trail plans at its May 5, 2022 meeting. Additional updates to the 5-year plans are scheduled for Fall 2022.

Direct Recipient Projects (overseen by the cities, county, Metropolitan Transit District and Community Bridges – Lift Line) – Visit the Direct Recipient page or each agency’s website to view approved 5-year plans.

Other Highlights

Revenue Collection: The state began collecting the new ½-cent sales tax for local transportation improvements in April 2017 and the first disbursements to local agencies started in summer 2017. Funds are distributed monthly to recipient agencies. Updates on revenues are included no less than quarterly in the RTC board agenda packet.

Measure D Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP): The RTC adopted the long-term SIP at its February 6, 2020 meeting. The SIP serves as the guiding policy and programming document for the implementation of Regional Measure D projects.

Amended Measure D Expenditure Plan: At its February 6, 2020 meeting, the RTC amended the voter-approved Expenditure Plan, listing Auxiliary Lanes on Hwy 1 from Freedom Blvd-Rio Del Mar-State Park Drive as part of the Highway Corridors investment category. This amendment became effective on March 22, 2020, 45-days after the RTC board approval. Notice was given to the Board of Supervisors and City Councils in Santa Cruz County, per Utility Code Section 180207 and the Ordinance.

RTC Contact

Guy Preston
Executive Director
(831) 460-3200