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San Benito
July 13, 2024

Election Analysis: Voters say road repairs worth extra hit to wallets

This election season came with a slew of monumental changes affecting every resident in San Benito County, so there’s no surprise turnout reached such extraordinary levels nearing 70 percent.
With such a wide mix of measures and races to digest, what are we supposed to take away from the 2018 midterm election in San Benito County? One overwhelming conclusion stands out: Local residents are fed up by the embarrassing condition of local roads.
That resulted in passage of the Measure G sales tax that needed a 66.7 percent approval. About 70 percent of voters decided they’re willing to spend more money every time they make local purchases — don’t forget about Amazon and other online outlets that charge the local levy, too  — for the next three decades.
That 1 percent is no small investment for anyone, especially a big chunk of local residents who are barely getting by.
If someone spends $10,000 annually in San Benito County, a reasonable figure, that will result in $100 out of pocket every year — plus inflation — for 30 years. If you’re looking to buy a car for $25,000 or so, you might want to think about making an investment this holiday season because the price will go up by $250 in the new year.
That’s a reality check to all the local residents who said Measure G is a small price to pay in the run-up to the election. There’s no way around this fact: Measure G is a big, big cost for every resident in San Benito County to make up for generations of neglect to investing in road repairs.
Thirty years is a long time, by the way. Think of it this way: Your newborn will be 30 years old or your 10-year-old will 40 when the tax expires. If you’re pushing 40 like me, you’ll be pushing 70 when Measure G expires. That’s flat out depressing.
But most residents swallowed the sour pill because they saw no other realistic way in the foreseeable future to make real progress on undeniably needed road repairs, other than paying for it themselves.
The roads here are beyond bad. They’re unacceptable, and a hindrance to economic and social progress. In layman’s terms: They’re a pain in the butt.
The state is paying for much of the upcoming Highway 156 expansion from two to four lanes but won’t budget on Highway 25, which is the primary commuter route for thousands of local residents who come and go every day and sit in unnecessarily mind-numbing traffic on their way to work.
The rest of us rattle our way from one side of town to the other dodging potholes and avoiding all those nutty drivers whose impatience gets the best of them. The sound of a honking horn and cursing, middle finger-flashing angry person is becoming all too familiar in these parts.
So despite the fact that the price of every $100 trip to Target just went up by a buck — I doubt Cartwheel will ever cover that dollar — more than two-thirds of residents said enough is enough when it comes to the condition of local roads.
More than two-thirds of voters took a deep breath and decided they want to see a day when commuting on Highway 25 seems more like a cruise across town than an actual commute.
Analysis by Kollin Kosmicki