Advocacy Update, June 1

The Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) has voted to put the GoSonoma Act, extending the existing quarter cent sales tax created by Measure M, on the November ballot. Before they can do so, the  measure must be approved by  majority of our local cities.

SCTA’s Board and staff have spent an incredible amount of time working with a broad swath of community interest groups to craft a measure (and associated expenditure plan) that addresses divergent needs.  The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s Executive Director was highly involved in that process, along with leaders of other environmental, business, and community groups.

Across our state, overall traffic fatalities have been going down…but bicycle and pedestrian fatalities have been going UP. Compared to Measure M, this measure TRIPLES funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, which will improve safety, reduce fatalities, and encourage more residents to use healthy, active forms of transportation more often. It also requires road improvement projects to take ALL users’ needs into account, with appropriate bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, etc. It includes funding for education and encouragement programs, like our Bike to Work Month and Safe Routes to School programs.

It’s no news to any of you that Sonoma County has the worst roads in the Bay Area. Thirty-eight percent of the funds raised will be distributed to cities and the county to maintain and repave roads. Whether you travel by bicycle, bus, or auto, you do so on a road – we all have an investment in fixing those potholes!

But more importantly, we need this measure to retain our status as a “self-help” county, using these funds to leverage large pools of state and federal funding. Losing this local funding stream would impair Sonoma County’s ability to compete for funding for all kinds of transportation improvement projects.

SCTA’s GoSonoma Tax Renewal Measure will be up for a vote at the cities and county according to the schedule below. If you think renewing our local transportation tax and increasing funding for bicycle infrastructure is a good idea, consider attending YOUR jurisdiction’s meeting to make a comment, or email your comments ahead of time. (A list of city & county contact info is available here.)

Jurisdiction Meeting Time
Sonoma June 1, 6:00PM
Board of Supervisors June 9,8:30AM
Rohnert Park June 9,5:00PM
Cotati June 9,7:00PM
Cloverdale June 10,6:00PM
Petaluma June 15,6:45PM
Healdsburg June 15,7:00PM
Santa Rosa June 16,4:00PM
Windsor June 17,6:00PM
Sebastopol TBD