The San Benito County Board of Supervisors on April 2 adopted a list of road repairs to be submitted to the state for around $1.7 million in funding through the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, also known as Senate Bill 1 (SB 1).
The list includes parts of Fairview, Union, Hospital, Buena Vista and Southside roads, with repairs ranging from resurfacing to filling potholes. Funds will be disbursed in the next fiscal year, which begins in July.
SB 1 funds come from a statewide increase in vehicle registration fees and gas taxes. They are then split between local and state governments for roads, freeways and bridges over the next decade.
Though SB 1 requires the county to submit a project list to the California Transportation Commission by May 1, Supervisor Jim Gillio said revisions can be made if necessary.
Supervisor Anthony Botelho, who left before the vote was taken, said the project list made sense, but he still had concern about other road projects. He recommended making a list of priority road projects that could be funded by combining SB 1, Measure G (which just started collecting funds this month) and enterprise funds from the John Smith Landfill in order to spend money more efficiently. Measure G was approved by county voters in 2018 to increase the local sales tax by 1% for roadway and transportation projects.
Deputy County Administrative Officer Edgar Nolasco said that was a possibility for the future, and reminded Botelho that the project list was a requirement in order to receive SB 1 funds.
Board Chairman Mark Medina agreed that Botelho’s idea should be considered in the future so that the main roads used to travel in and out of San Benito County could be examined, followed by those heavily used in the county.
“We need to come up with a process,” Medina said. “With the [Pavement Condition Index] process that we use, that was just picking the most dilapidated roads. It doesn’t make sense sometimes because they don’t get used.”
In an effort to maximize funds, Supervisor Jaime De La Cruz said it was also important for San Benito County to collaborate with Hollister to address mutual roads.
Both county management analyst Dulce Alonso and Supervisor Gillio said there have been discussions with Hollister city staff about working together on road projects. Gillio also said that it was a good effort at addressing high priority roads with SB 1, but the county needs to find other sources of funding besides Measure G.
“I realize, and I let my constituents know, there is no way we are going to fix every single road immediately,” Gillio said. “But we have to work on the worst ones, the most trafficked and the roads that are going to bring in economic development.”
However, administrative service manager Scott Lines warned supervisors that going after all the funds possible might not be in the county’s best short-term interest, because they don’t have the proper staff to manage many projects at once.
Medina replied that the board would find a way to make it happen.
“As I told [County Administrative Officer Ray] Espinosa earlier today, if you give me the resources, I can build you Disneyland,” Lines said.
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