Op-Ed published by Times Publishing Group
Aptos Times, Capitola Soquel Times, Scotts Valley Times
Paul Elerick, former 2016 co-chair of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation
For those of us who use Highway 1 and sit in traffic daily, the sense among many is that enough is enough. The time has come to do something about it. Measure D does just that by funding “auxiliary lanes,” which connect onramps to the next off-ramp. These lanes allow Mid County travelers to get on and off Highway 1 faster, and the lanes will give South County commuters a chance to get home sooner.
Auxiliary lanes are already working between the Soquel Dr. and Morrissey Blvd. exits. Measure D adds these lanes in three sections, from State Park to Soquel Dr.
Measure D does a lot more than address Highway 1 traffic. It also funds a new Highway 1 pedestrian/cyclist overcrossing in Seacliff/Aptos at Mar Vista (and one at Chanticleer in Live Oak), local street repairs, safer routes to schools, expansion of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail, investigation of rail as a possible future transit option (zero funds go to rail service), paratransit services for seniors and those with disabilities, and more.
Today’s highway haters continue to do their best to steer people away from allocating any money to improve congestion on Highway 1. They want us to believe Measure D is all about highway “widening.” Opponents would do nothing to improve congestion on the highway. Their way doesn’t help emergency responders, or hardworking commuters, or small businesses or those using public transit.
The opponents are wrong. I would know. I’m former chair of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, the folks who oppose the measure. I’ve had concerns in the past about efforts to widen Highway 1, which did not strike the right balance for our community. Measure D, however, hits the mark. The plan smartly invests in traffic relief for Highway 1, while also supporting cycling, street repairs and much more. And Measure D is pro-environment.
Measure D is a practical investment in our future. The measure is a half-cent sales tax, not a bond measure or property tax. The effective rate will actually be a quarter-cent, since a statewide temporary quarter-cent sales tax is ending this year. Measure D also allows Santa Cruz County to join the majority of other counties in California that are eligible for matching funds from the state and federal governments.
The time has come. Let’s look forward, not backward, and get our county moving again. Vote yes on Measure D.