SLO County seeking sales tax increase
April 11, 2016
San Luis Obispo County officials have endorsed a half-cent sales tax initiative that may appear on the November ballot. The aim of the sales tax measure is too reduce traffic congestion. [Tribune]
Last week, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments board voted 10-1 in favor of the tax increase. County Supervisor Debbie Arnold cast the lone dissenting vote. Supervisor Lynn Compton was absent for the vote.
The tax proposal would last nine years and raise approximately $25 million annually. Two thirds of voters would have to support the initiative in order for it to pass.
Ron De Carli, executive director of SLOCOG, said the agency is at a fiscal cliff because of low gas prices. State and federal transportation funding have decreased significantly in recent years because of low gas prices and the increasing popularity of fuel-efficient cars.
County officials say a new source of revenue is needed to reduce traffic congestion.
Congestion has long been a problem at rush hour on Highway 101 at the Shell Beach Straights. Alternative routes on Highway 227, Prado Road and Los Osos Valley Road are becoming backed up as well.
If the tax were to pass, the revenue would go toward widening roads, but also fixing potholes, improving bridge safety and improving bike paths, like the Bob Jones trail.
In order for the tax measure to qualify for the ballot, it must be approved by a majority of San Luis Obispo County cities and the county board of supervisors. SLOCOG officials say telephone polling currently puts support for the tax in the mid-60 percent range.