Measure H passage paves way for county road repairs |

Measure H passage paves way for county road repairs

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

With Measure H’s passing by a huge margin, the El Dorado County Transportation Department is now planning to put the increase in its budget back into fixing county roads.

Measure H allocated half of the Department of Motor Vehicle License Fees to fund road maintenance, which amounts to $1.3 million the roads department should see next year.

That is if the Board of Supervisors doesn’t try to stop the department from ever receiving the money.

Supervisor Dave Solaro said the board may have some avenue to challenge Measure H even though the voters passed it. However, both Solaro and County Counsel Louis Green said the supervisors have not yet discussed that possibility.

When the county first fought to have Measure H taken off the ballot in September, a Third District Court of Appeals judge denied the board’s plea.

Citing a 1982 Sacramento Superior Court case, the judge said “it is usually more appropriate to review constitutional and other challenges to ballot propositions or initiative measures after an election rather than to disrupt the electoral process … “

Green said in September the judge’s decision could leave an option for the county to launch post-election opposition to Measure H.

However, Green said last week he hadn’t looked into the options, if any, the county has to fight the voters decision, but said he will review the legal alternatives and advise the board accordingly.

In the meantime, Tom Celio, Deputy Director of Maintenance, said the Transportation Department is working on a three-year plan to develop a work schedule and reprioritize spending.

Celio said the department should have the finished plan to present to the board by Jan. 1 so bid proposals can go out next spring.

“We want to get the money out on the road system as soon as possible,” he said. “We don’t want any lag time.”

Celio said because Tahoe’s road are the worst, the basin should see almost 25 percent of the funds secured by Measure H going into pavement repairs, overlays and seal coats.

Pooled with Measure H, Celio said the department will also see $1 million in federal forest receipts and $425,000 from Governor Gray Davis’ transportation bill to enjoy a $3 million increase in next year’s budget.

“Everybody’s excited,” Celio said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us but we’re thrilled. (This money) will make a big difference in county roads.”

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