The proposed extension of Measure C, Fresno’s transportation tax, received some pushback in May. A coalition of Fresno labor and community groups wrote a letter in opposition to the tax’s renewal, set to appear on the ballot this year. The letter to the Fresno County Transportation Authority and the Fresno Council of Governments highlighted a need for better spending and more community input.
The measure first received approval in 1986. It added a half-cent sales tax to all purchases in Fresno County, generating around $3 billion in revenue. The proposed extension will generate an additional $6.8 billion, which the opposing coalition says could be better used elsewhere.
The Fresno Alliance for Responsible Transportation Spending is a 36-member group that includes a wide variety of interests. From the Fresno Teacher’s Association and similar community interest groups to local workforce training agency Bitwise Industries, opposition to the extension comes from far and wide.
The coalition asked in its letter for the $6.8 billion Measure C extension to appear on the November 2024 ballot. As of right now, the extension will go to a vote this year. However, it doesn’t expire until 2027. The coalition said that the extra time is necessary to better allocate the tax funds.
Opponents to Measure C underscore the need for public transportation and cleaner air
Opposition to the extension noted multiple issues with the way the county would spend its revenue. The original measure led to over $1 billion in improvements to county roads and streets. The coalition argues that the money should instead go to less car-centric projects.
Among the coalition’s major concerns is air quality, of which Fresno has some of the worst in the country. Measure C promised to help clean up Fresno’s air, but the coalition believes it has fallen short of this goal. The coalition also noted that around 600,000 Fresno residents cannot drive, meaning road improvements would not help vulnerable community members.
All in all, the coalition does not fully oppose the extension. Instead, it urges a careful reexamination of what the tax should accomplish. With better priorities and more transparent spending, the coalition believes the tax could do more good for the Fresno County residents that need it.