Evenly divide any Measure R excess funds
Apparently, Tulare County has an excess of Measure R funds and everyone has their hands outs.
Measure R is the countywide half percent increase on local sales tax. The sale tax hike was approved by voters in 2006 to help supplement state and federal money to be use for road projects, road repairs, transit needs and the development of trails and bicycle paths.
However, it also appears the surplus can be designated for any use under the Measure R umbrella.
Measure R money is managed by the Tulare County Transportation Authority. The revenue is divided into four areas: 1 percent for administration; 35 percent for local programs; 50 percent for regional projects and 14 percent for transit, bike and environmental projects.
The county and all cities undoubtedly have projects in mind. The city of Porterville has several trail projects it would like to get money for and, like other cities, has submitted a letter to the authority with its wish list.
Supervisor Mike Ennis said he is not sure how the money should be divided or that the money should all go to transit or trail projects. Also, Ennis pointed out that not all the surplus is available right now, so the first thing that must be done is to finalize how much of a surplus exist.
We suggest the money be evenly divided among the cities and county based on population, and cities that don’t have a need for the money can opt out. However, it would then be up to each individual entity how to utilize those funds. We would hope that each city would see input from their citizens as to how they would like to seek the funds used.
What we don’t want to see is the money all dumped into one project or unevenly distributed. Every city and the county ought to get a portion of the surplus. After all, it has been the citizens of the entire county who have contributed to that surplus and they are the ones who should benefit.