Local Elections

Sacramento and Placer transportation taxes fail to pass

Measure B, the proposed half-cent transportation sales tax in Sacramento County, fell short of the two-thirds support it needed to pass.

With all precincts accounted for early Wednesday, the measure had just shy of 65 percent approval. It needed to top two-thirds, or 67 percent, to pass.

A similar transportation tax measure in Placer County, Measure M, had won nearly 64 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, but it also needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

The Sacramento tax would have raised an estimated $3.6 billion over 30 years to finance major fixes and upgrades throughout the county, starting with filling potholes and repaving rutted streets.

Sacramento leaders proposed Measure B as a way to take more local responsibility for improving and expanding the county’s transportation infrastructure, reducing reliance on state and federal governments where political gridlock has caused funding to stagnate.

Measure B was backed by all seven cities in the county as well as the county Board of Supervisors. Sacramento Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg loaned the effort $200,000, saying he felt the measure was critical to the city and county’s economic growth.

Some taxpayer activists opposed the measure, saying the county already has a half-cent transportation sales tax in place, Measure A. The Measure B tax would have overlapped Measure A for two decades. Transportation planners said Measure A, approved in 2004, has helped move the county forward amid recession and state funding cuts, but doesn’t provide enough money to meet growing needs.

Measure B would have provided money to advance several major county projects, including a $700 million widening of the Capital City Freeway between midtown and Interstate 80 near Watt Avenue, the region’s most congested freeway. Other projects included widening Grant Line Road into an expressway, and a light-rail extension to Natomas and the airport.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

Related stories from Sacramento Bee