Local Politics

New tax is smoothing out road, sidewalk and other problems in Santa Barbara

$22 million a year is predicted from the fund

Results from the voter approved Measure C tax dollars include more road and sidewalk repairs in Santa Barbara.  The funds will also help with the cost of a new police headquarters.  (John Palminteri/KEYT.com)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara is smoothing out its pothole problem with miles of new asphalt going down all over town, all funded by new tax dollars.

"I think it is looking really nice, sharp and clean," said Angela Holland on her walk on Cabrillo Boulevard.

Nearby on a newly paved street off Milpas in her neighborhood, Cindy Castro stopped her car and said,
"For a long time there were pot holes in the street and now they are fixed it is really awesome." Castro also sweeps her entire block once a week.

When it comes to the pothole look during the last few years, when funds were low, Holland said you get used to it.  Now she notices "when it is clean and new. This is good."

We talked to residents and drivers about the new look to so many streets in the city. That includes areas on the Westside, upper De la Vina, the Eastside and the Waterfront.

It's all funded by a one-cent sales tax voters approved called Measure C.  

It kicked in on April 1, 2018. Annually it is estimated to bring in about $22 million.

Lynnne Lecouvre thought the road work delays were planned. "I used to think they deliberately didn't fix the roads in Santa Barbara so that they wouldn't have a speeding problem."

Castro says it will help with a smoother drive and less damage to her car when she hits potholes.

In addition to the street work, sidewalks that have buckled are getting repaired, especially where they are impacted by tree roots.

There is an oversight committee that will watch the tax dollars coming in and the projects getting approved. They will make sure the voters' priority list is addressed.

"It's really wonderful that the city is fixing it. It is really important for our vehicles," Castro said.

The flow pattern has not always been on the same timeline.

After the asphalt goes down, it is usually about 11 days before striping takes place. That allows the surface to cure. In some cases, the paint has been replaced with the more durable thermoplastic which bonds into the asphalt.  You see that where the word "Stop" is painted or with the crosswalk markings.

Until then, drivers have to be aware of their lanes whether they are marked or not.

Lecouvre said, "We were all kind of driving in vertigo and  there were no boundaries and one time a car was coming head on, and I was in the wrong lane."

The Measure C sales tax is estimated to bring in $22 million annually for city improvements, many are long overdue.

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