It is not too early to be thinking about voting. As the presidential debates take our attention, there are other issues, here in our own county, that need addressing. We have a decision to make for keeping our roads as they are currently, or repair them.
The state of California is not giving back the same amount of gas tax dollars that are generated in this county. We generate very little anyway considering that people shop out of town and buy gas where it is cheaper. Our county population is small and except for being viewed as a crossroads, our needs are not a priority.
If you have listened to Jerry Brown’s mentions of transportation in California, the state is focusing on mass Ttansit. That may be the right thing to do considering the landslide of population growth that is inevitable.
San Benito County does not have the money coming in that would even touch the needs we have. We are being held responsible for our own circumstances. Business and housing developments can only be asked to pay for their own impact. The county cannot ask them to pay for existing conditions.
The Repair Our Roads Committee was formed in response to COG’s intense study of the situation we are in all over the county. From Aromas to Paicines (so to speak), we have huge road condition problems. The committee has put Measure P on the June ballot. Measure P is a half-cent countywide sales tax. The tax is small, but over a 30-year period, it will bring in a substantial amount. The projected income will allow the county to immediately start work on the prioritized need for road surfaces all over the county and the city streets. As our streets and roads are repaired, bicycle/pedestrian issues can be better addressed as well as highway issues around the county, including 25 and 156 as scheduled for improvements.
The total expected income from Measure P can be leveraged for state and federal grants that we cannot get if the people of the county don’t come to the table with some percentage of funds. Measure P will not produce miracles; however, current San Benito County funds can do only so much, giving us our only choice: to take care of our own county. It’s as simple as that, and if you look at our neighboring counties, you’ll see they are taking care of their own, too.
Most important is to go vote, help someone register, and encourage your neighbor to vote, the privilege people are dying for still today.