This community opinion was contributed by Hamdy Abbass, co-founder of Stay Alive on 25. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
Our local San Benito community, economy, jobs, businesses, schools, and quality of life relies on a transportation system that supports us and keeps us vibrant. But there are significant transportation needs throughout the county, from local streets and roads to major highways. Our roads are crumbling, and route 25 is unsafe and congested. We are one of seven counties with an average pavement condition significantly below the statewide average.
Progress has been made in line with our Regional Transportation Plan. CalTrans has fully funded 156 improvements, and Santa Clara County voters supported plans to improve the 25/101 interchange, with approved plans to complete the project by 2024.
But more needs to be done to increase safety and reduce congestion for our local San Benito community, including route 25, and fixing our local streets and roads.
Over the past year, through conversations with residents in every part of San Benito County, including community groups and stakeholders, a detailed plan was developed to address these needs. Transportation officials and staff turned those conversations into the Measure G San Benito County Roads and Transportation Safety Investment Plan, to:
Improve 25 with a four-lane expressway and interchanges to reduce congestion and increase safety. In addition to Santa Clara County improvements to the 25/101 interchange, Measure G will qualify us for State and Federal matching funds to ensure the state pays their fair share, and traffic impact mitigation fees to ensure 25 is a shared responsibility.
Maintain local neighborhood streets and roads to improve traffic flow and safety, repair potholes, cracks, intersections, and bridges for every area of our County, including the City of Hollister, the City of San Juan Bautista, and San Benito County, including Aromas, Ridgemark, Tres Pinos, Bitterwater, and Dunneville. Measure G details county-wide equity for distribution of the repairs outlined, to be re-evaluated on an annual basis.
Mobility, Transit, and Paratransit: Enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety, including implementation of Safe Routes to School and crosswalks, and mobility, bus and paratransit services for seniors, people with disabilities, and youth.
Measure G is a prudent, detailed plan showing exactly how funds must be spent to provide a guaranteed source of locally-controlled funding for San Benito County’s transportation future that cannot be taken by the State, no matter what happens with the State budget or the economy. Measure G is only for San Benito County and our local communities.
Taxpayer safeguards are mandatory, including annual independent audits from a Citizen’s Oversight Committee to ensure funds are spent as promised on critically needed road improvements. The responsibilities of the Citizens’ Oversight Committee include but are not limited to: advising the Council of Governments Board, reviewing plan expenditures up to four times a year to ensure they conform to the detailed expenditure plan, reviewing the annual audit and report prepared by outside independent audit, and producing a publicly available annual report.
Measure G puts us in line with neighboring counties who have approved transportation measures and qualifies us for state and federal matching funds, to double our investment, and leverage taxpayer dollars even further. You can read the entire Roads and Transportation Safety Investment Plan and the Ordinance by visiting the San Benito County Council of Governments Website: www.SanBenitoCOG.org.
San Benito County transportation needs are great. Measure G is a vital step in addressing these needs and setting up the transportation future of San Benito County residents for generations to come. Measure G will fix our local roads, reduce traffic, and improve traffic flow in the region so we can get to work, school, home, and so much more, more efficiently and safer.
Bob Tiffany, President, San Benito County Business Council
Valerie J. Egland, Parks and Trails Advocate
Hamdy Abbass, Co Chairman, Stay Alive on 25 Committee
Bob Tiffany is a long-time business owner of Tiffany Ford, 4th generation San Benito County resident, President of the San Benito County Business Council, and community volunteer.
Valerie Egland is a community leader and advocate for healthy communities – from our youth to our seniors. She is a 3rd generation San Juan resident and avid REACH volunteer.
Hamdy Abbass is the co-founder of Stay Alive on 25, a daily commuter, and safety advocate for San Benito County transportation. His efforts, along with Stay Alive on 25, and other community leaders, resulted in the original community supported 25/101 safety interchange 20 years ago.
Become a Member Today
Support your local independent news.
We work hard to give you the news and information you need. By becoming a member, you will be part of something bigger; BenitoLink, your community-supported news source.
Add Facebook comment
Comment using your Facebook account. Facebook comments will be published on this page, and on Facebook. It will not be posted to the "Recent Comments" list on the BenitoLink front page.