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Measure A can shift region into fast lane

By   /   Friday, October 10th, 2008  /   Comments Off on Measure A can shift region into fast lane

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Traffic continues to be a big problem for communities along the Highway 101 corridor.

No-growth advocates in places like Oxnard want to constrict it through draconian limits on the number of cars “allowed” through certain intersections. We’ll have more to say about the evils of Measure V below.

No-tax advocates want to stop projects like the widening of the 101 through Montecito because they don’t like committing $1 billion to anything – and they don’t like the fact that bike paths or mass-transit improvements could become ad-ins to Measure A’s core program.

But we are writing to join civic and business leaders in support of Measure A, which presents a better program with better uses of funds than any of its predecessors.

The problem is that California is struggling with a terrible infrastructure problem and nothing exemplifies that problem like the constricted, aging, two-lane barrier to commerce that defines Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Opponents like Scott Wenz, whose letter appears on the opposite page, want to limit Measure A’s term to 10 or 15 years and sharply curtail its scope.

Just one problem with that: Projects like Highway 101’s are going to need to be built to last the full 30 years of Measure A’s proposed life. Giving the measure a 30-year term will allow for improvements to Highway 101 up and down Santa Barbara County.

We can’t forecast what improvements will need to be made on the 101 corridor over the next 30 years.

But we can forecast with absolute certainty, that the 101 will be the major lifeline for commerce, jobs and opportunity for the 1.4 million residents of the Tri-Counties for the next three decades.

To have a smooth and functioning Highway 101 corridor, the first necessity is to rebuild the highway through Montecito and Carpinteria to the Ventura County line.

The next necessity is to prepare to fund further improvements to Highway 101 and all of the other highways that feed into it over the next few decades.

We’ll therefore cast our lot with Santa Barbara County Supervisors Firestone and Carbajal and with the chambers of commerce represented in the Regional Legislative Alliance.

It’s going to be tough to get the supermajority required to pass Measure A.

But we believe it is the right program at the right time for our region.

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