No transportation tax vote in Sacramento County

July 21, 2020

Keith Goble

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The Sacramento Transportation Authority has decided against asking Sacramento County voters to approve a one-half-cent transportation tax question.

Made up of Sacramento County supervisors and council members from area cities, the board voted unanimously to cancel plans to put the sales tax question on the fall ballot. Measure A sought to raise $8 billion over 40 years for transportation purposes.

Officials cited concern about the pandemic and social unrest for the decision to leave the question off the November ballot. A two-thirds majority vote by the public would be needed for a tax increase to pass.

Measure A

Public votes in the Sacramento area to raise revenue for road, bridge and transit work are not uncommon.

In 1988, voters approved Measure A to add a one-half-cent countywide sales tax. Voters renewed their pledge to tax themselves in 2009 for an additional 30 years.

The sales tax is earmarked for construction of highways, streets, and roads; maintenance of existing streets, and roads; transit; and transportation-related air quality programs.

Ballot proposal

The Sacramento Transportation Authority board, which was formed by approval of Measure A, voted this spring to endorse a proposed ballot measure to again raise the sales tax.

Supporters said a tax increase is necessary to cover all the projects that are not covered by existing money.

The question to raise the sales tax by one-half cent was expected to allocate about 40% of revenue for transit work. The remaining revenue would be directed for maintenance, rehabilitation and improvements to streets and highways.

Nearly $2 billion would be used for maintenance and repair of streets and roads. Another $650 million would be applied for road work that includes new carpool lanes on Interstate 80 and U.S. 50.

The project spending list was expected to include adding “managed lanes” to all freeways in the county that are capable of being used as carpool lanes, bus lanes, zero emission vehicle lanes, and possible toll lanes.

County officials could decide to revisit the issue next year.

More Land Line coverage of news from California is available.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.