There are as many reasons for supporting Measure B as there are potholes in Turlock’s streets. But at least one of those reasons has nothing to do with cars.
“I get as many people complaining about twisted ankles as car repairs,” said Mayor John Lazar.
Measure B will raise the city’s sales tax rate from 7.65 to 8.12 percent and dedicate the money to fixing and maintaining the city’s streets. We support Measure B, though we dislike the concept of higher sales taxes – even with a seven-year sunset clause. Higher sales taxes make it harder for people to afford new appliances, cars or even back-to-school supplies. As we point out in our companion editorial, we would prefer cities find other ways to balance needs and revenues.
Still, Measure B has two very good components:
• First, an escape clause. If the county gets its act together and passes a transportation sales tax increase, Measure B will come to a screeching halt. Six years ago, Turlock voters embraced the countywide Measure S, though it failed overall. If Turlock again votes for a countywide solution, it won’t be penalized.
• Second, proponents have already created a list of exactly which roads will be fixed and when. That’s instant accountability.
Officials expect an additional $5.9 million annually, a significant fraction coming from out-of-towners shopping in Turlock. That’s not “free money” (they are using Turlock streets to shop, after all), but it will come in handy. Still, it won’t be enough. Committee chair Jim Theis said the city needs $65 million in road repairs, and they’re not cosmetic fixes. Many merge with safety concerns. Turlock gets $1.1 million from gas taxes, but that’s hardly a dent in the need if Measure B doesn’t pass.
To avoid confusion, this tax is for fixing roads – not building new ones. It won’t advance the much-hoped-for south county corridor, linking the city to Interstate 5, even an inch. But in Turlock, fixing potholes is enough. Vote yes on Measure B.