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Support Measure R – Times-Herald

Measure R is the Benicia Local Roads Repair and Infrastructure Measure, a local initiative that will provide the necessary funding to repair and then maintain our roads. Benicia City Council put this measure on the ballot in hopes that voters will approve of the most direct way to ensure our roads are finally fixed.

Measure R would increase sales tax on certain purchases made in Benicia by three-quarters of 1 cent. This means that if you spend $100, the R measure will cost you an additional 75 cents. Sales taxes apply to some retail purchases, but do not include food and medicine purchased from grocery stores. Additionally, the use of a sales tax is a way to ease the burden on Benicia residents, as a significant portion of the sales tax proceeds are paid by tourists and other out-of-towners. of the city to enjoy our excellent restaurants, our charm and our atmosphere.

If measure R passes, our sales tax rate will be 9.125%. That would be even less than many of our neighboring cities including Concord, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Richmond, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Berkeley, Oakland and more. No one wants to pay more taxes, but if we ever want to get ahead of the deterioration in road conditions, this is the most direct way to do it. If we fail to adopt this measure, our roads will continue to deteriorate.

So why do we need Measure R? It’s clear to most that our road conditions are poor, to put it mildly. Independent engineering studies have noted that our road conditions have a (PCI) score of 57 which is considered ‘at risk’. Additionally, 42% of our roads are rated as “bad or failing” and we have some of the worst roads in the region. The report also noted that to repair our roads to an acceptable level (70 PCI), we need to invest nearly $6 million every year for the next 10 years.

If adopted, Measure R would generate approximately $5 million per year. Currently, the City only receives about $1.1 million a year from the state gas tax and other sources to invest in our roads. If the R measure passes, it would generate over $50 million over the next 10 years, which is what we need to bring our PCI to a score of 70. Plus, it would generate all the money we would need to continue to maintain our roads. forward.

Although this measure is titled Benicia Local Roads Repair and Infrastructure Measure, it is a general tax that theoretically could be redirected by a future council to non-road and storm repairs. For those suspicious of this advice to keep our word on the use of these funds, voters should consider how the city has kept its word on the use of Measure C funds.

“The Benicia Quality of Life Measure” was adopted by voters in 2014. As the title of the measure suggests, the objective of Measure C was to support existing municipal services. The city has used Measure C funds to invest in a variety of projects, including public safety, municipal facilities, parks, library, and roads. In fact, 33% of all Measure C funds ($15 million) were invested in roads and infrastructure. However, this amount is far from sufficient to repair our roads.

The bottom line is that the city needs to find a way to meet the long-standing priority of fixing our roads, and it’s unrealistic to think that we can cut our $50 million budget by 10% every year for the next 10 years without stripping certain programs that the community relies on.

To help ensure that this council and future city councils stay the course on investing in our roads, Measure R spending would be subject to strict oversight by our Economic Development Board, including our City Treasurer.

Ultimately, voters should realize that this is the best opportunity to deal with our old and failing roads, and for which there is no other reasonable way to fix them.

On behalf of the Benicia City Council, thank you for your confidence in supporting this essential investment in our infrastructure. Please join me in voting yes on Measure R.

To learn more about Measure R, please visit BeniciaMeasureR.org.

— Steve Young/Mayor of Benicia