Merced County tax marks fifth year of transportation funding
With Measure V marking its fifth year in April, Merced County leaders say the half-cent sales tax has been instrumental in improving roads, bridges, sidewalks and transportation networks in common premises.
The Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) this week released a fifth anniversary edition of its annual Measure V report, titled moving. The report highlights that sales tax revenue has reached the milestone of $100 million collected.
V-measurement was adopted by Merced County voters in November 2016 and entered into force the following year. It was passed in hopes of generating more than $450 million over the next 30 years for transportation maintenance and improvements, according to the MCAG website.
The tax is set to expire in 2047.
“Measure V has done so much more for local transportation systems in its first five years than we even imagined,” MCAG Executive Director Stacie Guzman said in a press release Wednesday.
“Reaching the $100 million milestone as quickly as we did and seeing how much has been accomplished across the county in just five years is a testament to the magnitude of the need for these funds in our region.
This $100 million was raised for infrastructure projects to improve transportation in Merced County, the cities of Merced, Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston and Los Banos, as well as the public transit system The Bus. Funds have also been provided for major regional transportation projects in the east and west of the county.
Half of all Measure V revenue is allocated to the county and its six cities. These funds should be used for improving local transport and 20% should be spent on alternative transport such as sidewalk and cycle lane projects.
Here’s what Measure V funded, according to the report:
- Merced County: Approximately $22 million in revenue received, $14 million spent in Spring 2022. Sidewalk projects at Henry Miller Avenue, Sandy Mush Road, Dickenson Ferry Bridge and Lobo Avenue are complete. The Atwater Merced Highway project is underway.
- City of Merced: $9 million in revenue, $6 million in expenses. The funds were used to improve Main and M Streets, as well as repair sidewalks and potholes.
- Atwater: $4 million in revenue, $514,000 in expenses. Improvements on Fruitland Avenue and Winton Way have been funded.
- Dos Palos: $1 million income, $150,000 expenses. The city is using Measure to fix sidewalks and add bike lanes to roads.
- gustin: $1 million income, $900,000 expenses. The city has become more pedestrian-friendly by repairing damaged sidewalks and adding a new multi-use path to a park.
- Livingston: $2 million in revenue, $800,000 in expenses. The Mesure V project has improved the accessibility of the city with new ADA ramps, sidewalks and a multi-use path.
- Los Banos: $4 million revenue, $2 million expense. The city has improved its roads, crosswalks and sidewalk ramps. A community neighborhood has been transformed into a pedestrian zone by modernizing the sidewalks.
- Transit: $4 million income, $500,000 expenses. Measure V provides free, fixed-route transit service throughout the county to seniors, veterans, and ADA-eligible passengers on The Bus and other transit services. The funds will be used to transition the bus fleet to electric vehicles, with five new electric buses set to enter service at the end of 2022.
Future Measure V projects also include Atwater Merced Freeway Phase 1B which will extend the freeway to Santa Fe Drive, the Pioneer Road Project in Los Banos, Phase Three of the Meredith Avenue Multi-Use Trail in Gustine and a complete reconstruction of East Blossom Street in Dos Palos, according to the report.
The funds will also be used to acquire the first zero-emission battery electric vehicles to be added to The Bus’ fleet.
“There is no doubt that Measure V is a transformative program that will continue to shape how we travel within and between our communities for many years to come,” Guzman said in the report.
The full On the MoVe report is available online on the MCAG website or in hard copy at each of the six town halls, the county administration building and the MCAG office.
MCAG, as the designated local transportation authority for Merced County, is responsible for the implementation and administration of Measure V. MCAG posts monthly updates in an online newsletter available on its website web at www.mcagov.org.
This story was originally published April 15, 2022 5:00 a.m.