Fresno County towns try to seize transportation sales tax money Measure ‘C’

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Gateway to Sprawl: Measure C grants continue to fund sprawl west of Highway 99 in Fresno, CA. for public relations purposes, leveraged millions of local sales tax dollars to obtain state and federal funds. Now developers want taxpayers to subsidize the expansion of two-lane rural streets into five-lane arterials under the guise of “road repairs”, “gaps” and “neighborhood streets” in this development region by very profitable leapfrog. Photo by Joey Hall

Residents of rural Fresno County living outside of its 15 cities, including thousands in more than 30 disadvantaged unincorporated communities, were placed on the political chopping block earlier this month.

In a last-minute proposal on how to split the $6.8 billion transportation sales tax pie from Measure ‘C’ proposed for the years 2027 through 2057, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and Supervisor Sal Quintero urged eight rural mayors and Jefe Clovis Jose Flores to join them in an 11-4 vote at the Fresno Council of Governments; together they propose to take $185 million out of the county’s poorest areas and keep it for their cities.

Despite overwhelming support from the vote, such a split is unprecedented in Measure C’s history. women voters-Fresno – no elected representative broke ranks with either party. Everyone supported us every step of the way. With the approval of two-thirds of voters required, such unanimity among elected officials and supporters is necessary to ensure success at the polls.

Although the tax doesn’t expire until 2027, officials want to start borrowing now from future revenues to continue their massive road construction plans for leapfrog developments west of 99; north to 41, Friant Road and 168 with new freeway interchanges for Clovis; and east along the 180 in foothills and wildfire areas, as the 168 has done before. Planned “communities” for white-collar flying stretch along the foothills of Fresno and Madera counties, and developers want bigger roads and bridges in all directions. The Measure C spending plan calls these expansions “road repairs”.

The absorption of the unincorporated 119-acre section of Calwa by the city of Fresno emerged from closed-door negotiations as the surprise compromise between city and county officials in a bid to place the measure’s renewal C on the November ballot. It includes portions of Church and Jensen Avenues that have industrial uses immediately adjacent to residential neighborhoods suffering from increased diesel truck traffic and crumbling roads.

Gregory Weaver and Danielle Bergstrom reported in The Fresno Bee on July 8: “The county would receive $185 million less [in Measure C funds] in the city plan, but Dyer said annexing the largely residential sections of Calwa into the city of Fresno would help alleviate that shortfall for the county.

When the mayor of Fresno scrapped the new plan just an hour before the big Fresno Council of Governments vote on July 7, another surprise emerged: four rural mayors as advocates for better public process. Rolando Castro of Mendota, Julian Hernandez of San Joaquin, Mary Fast of Reedley and Scott Robertson of Selma all voted against sending the plan to voters.

The proposal then went to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors for the first of two votes by that body; their final vote to place Measure C on the ballot is scheduled for Aug. 8. subsidies. His full support is expected by August.

Ahead of the county council’s final vote in August, the next big vote in the process will be at the 9 a.m. meeting of the Fresno County Transportation Authority on July 20. In theory, the final language of the ballot initiative and the full spending plan will then be presented.

Both organizations are expected to announce their satisfaction with backroom deals, secret negotiations, and the failure of the Measure C renewal committee to define fairness in transportation spending or receive a single presentation on climate change in 18 months of meetings.

The lawyers of the Transport4All coalition, which submitted a letter signed by 36 entities from across the civic spectrum, including labor unions, religious leaders, businesses and community organizations, continues to call on elected leaders to do better. As Veronica Garibay, co-director of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, told The Bee after the mayors’ vote: “Tonight demonstrates that today’s decision makers have no respect for community engagement. and community voices… I don’t think the public easily forgets.

(Kevin Hall hosts Climate Politics from 5-6 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of each month on KFCF 88.1 FM in Fresno, Calif.)

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