Voters in the county are facing a $10 vehicle registration fee on the November ballot that will raise $6.7 million annually for 25 years to fund countywide transportation programs and fix local roads.
With the state facing a $20 billion deficit and spending less on transportation, the City/County Association of Governments decided to put a measure on the November ballot to impose the fee for vehicles registered in the county.
Currently, the fee for San Mateo County residents is $4.
Another statewide measure on the November ballot, Proposition 21, would add $18 to vehicle registration fees to go toward maintaining state parks and beaches.
State funding has diminished for road work and cities are pressured to provide services the state once funded, according to C/CAG.
If the measure passes, about half the money raised will be doled out to cities based on population and road miles. Under the formula, the city of San Mateo would get about $375,000 annually for road fixes while Foster City would get about $106,000 annually. Each city would receive at least $75,000 if Measure M passes.
The other half, about $3.2 million, would go toward funding transit operations including services for seniors and people with disabilities provided by Caltrain and SamTrans. About 5 percent of the money would go toward administrative cost.
Measure M is being opposed by the Silicon Valley Taxpayers’ Association.
"It is a very bad economy. It is a terrible time for a tax increase,” said Don Pettengill, a San Mateo resident with the taxpayers’ association.
Pettengill insists that C/CAG should cut from its own $11.3 million budget rather than ask voters to dole out more money to fill potholes.
"The way I see it, this agency does nothing. It is a parasite,” Pettengill said about C/CAG.
Federal stimulus money should be used to fill potholes since they are considered shovel-ready projects, Pettengill said.
C/CAG is a county agency charged with addressing transportation and air quality issues, among others, and is comprised of a 21-member board of local elected officials.
Cities can use the money for pavement resurfacing, pothole repair, signs and striping, traffic signals and for funding local shuttles. The money can also be used for street sweeping and storm-inlet cleaning.
Bill Silverfarb can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.