The 8 Local Leaders Set to Vote on How $7 Billion in Transportation Tax Funds Would Be Spent
Measure C faces another procedural step on its way to the November ballot. Voters could decide on the future of $7 billion on spending for transportation, including road maintenance and mass transit. Fresno County’s current half-cent sales tax for transportation projects expires in 2027.
The Fresno County Transportation Authority meets Wednesday morning and is scheduled to vote on the spending plan.
Measure C is estimated to raise $6.8 billion for the 30-year renewal (2027-2057). The focus of the previous two versions — first passed by voters in 1986 — was to build and extend highways across the county. This time around, the largest spending categories are for road maintenance and funding more localized priorities.
Where to Spend the Money?
FCTA and the Fresno Council of Governments — a regional agency dedicated to transportation issues — have been formulating spending plans for Measure C’s renewal for the last 18 months.
But, not without speedbumps.
Social justice advocates loudly complained that the renewal process did not involve enough community engagement. Hundreds attended a July 7 Fresno COG meeting voicing complaints.
Supporters of the Measure C renewal want it on the November ballot. One reason, boosters say, is that polling shows strong public support — as high as 80%. Other reasons include taking advantage of construction costs before they increase, and avoiding the 2024 ballot with a presidential race predicted to be “divisive.”
But critics are concerned about funding allocations. Not enough — they say — will go to regional transit and environmental programs.
Wednesday’s meeting of the Fresno County Transportation Authority will take place at 9 a.m. at the County of Fresno Plaza Building Ballroom (2220 Tulare Street, downtown Fresno). It will also be live streamed via Facebook and Zoom.
The city of Fresno — through its representative Mayor Jerry Dyer — presented an alternate plan at the July 7 meeting. Changes included revising the spending formula dedicated to local projects. The new plan took $187 million from unincorporated parts of the county and redistributed those funds to its 15 incorporated cities.
Nearly 70% of funds will go to “local” projects if the renewal passes (up from 31% in the current version). That means more spending on paving and maintenance of local roads and sidewalks.
Less money (15%, down from 30%) will go toward “regional” projects such as new highway lanes.
Fresno COG passed the Fresno-supported plan. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors also reluctantly approved the plan last week.
Related Story: Supervisors Move $7B Measure C Renewal One Step Closer to Ballot
FCTA staff has recommended approval, as well.
If the FCTA board, comprised of representatives from across the county, gives its thumbs up, the plan goes back to the supervisors for a vote to place Measure C on the November ballot. That needs to happen by Aug. 12.
Then, the voters will have their say at the Nov. 8 general election. The Measure C renewal would require a two-thirds majority to pass.
Monday, the Clovis City Council discussed the Measure C plan, mostly centered on technical issues such as how they can spend Transit Oriented Development dollars. The body did not take a formal vote of support or opposition.
Who is the FCTA?
When Measure C first passed, it also created the FCTA to manage the tax and expenditures.
The executive board, meeting Wednesday, is made up of nine members. Two are from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors — representing both a rural and urban district.
Two members are from the city of Fresno — the mayor and a member appointed by the city council.
One member represents the city of Clovis.
Two members represent the remaining 13 incorporated cities in the county — one from the west of Highway 99 and one east. The mayors of those cities collectively decide on representation.
The remaining two members are from the public at large. One represents either the cities of Fresno or Clovis, jointly appointed by both city councils. The other is a rural member, appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
FCTA Board Members
|Buddy Mendes (chair)||Fresno County Board of Supervisors, rural seat|
|Lynne Ashbeck (vice chair)||Clovis City Council|
|Jerry Dyer||Fresno Mayor|
|Esmeralda Soria||Fresno City Council|
|Steve Brandau||Fresno County Board of Supervisors, urban seat|
|Alma Beltran||Eastside cities (mayor of Parlier)|
|Rolando Castro||Westside cities (mayor of Mendota)|
|Paul Shihota||Public member, rural (Fresno County Board of Supervisors pick)|
|Vacant||Public member, urban (Fresno/Clovis city council joint pick)|
Participate In Person or Online
The FCTA will meet in person, Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the County of Fresno Plaza Building Ballroom (2220 Tulare Street, downtown Fresno).