Mayor Robert Garcia (center) and Councilmen Al Austin (left) and Roberto Uranga (right) lend a helping hand during a Measure A kickoff event. Photos by Ariana Gastelum.
City officials rolled up their sleeves and helped pave Jackson Street today to celebrate the launch of Measure A, which will provide $150 million in infrastructure improvements throughout the city.
Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilmen Al Austin and Roberto Uranga were joined by members of the community on the intersection of Jackson Street and Walnut Avenue to officially kick off the start of Measure A construction.
Nearly 60 percent of Long Beach voters approved Measure A in June, which enforces a temporary sales tax percent increase to fix Long Beach streets, roads and alleys; repair the city’s infrastructure; maintain and add more police officers; maintain and improve 911 paramedic response times as well as maintain and restore firefighters at critical locations.
It will also be used to enhance public safety infrastructure and community facilities including libraries, parks and other related projects.
“We are launching the biggest investment in our city in more than a generation,” Garcia said in a statement. “We will fix more streets, sidewalks, parks and storm drains than we have in more than 50 years.”
Measure A adds 1 percent to the sales tax for the first six years of action, generating approximately $48 million annually. It will then decrease to a half-percent, generating approximately $24 million annually for the final four years. The first year includes an estimated $25.7 million for capital improvement projects.
In addition, Measure A established a Citizens Advisory Committee, which comprises five members including former Councilman Steve Neal, Jane Netherton, Judy Ross, Mary Stevens and Miles Nevin, to review the city’s use of the revenue generated by the tax and ensure it is being used in accordance to the ballot’s language and council’s intent.
“This is a really fantastic milestone that we get to recognize here today for work that’s being done under what we call a complete streets program,” Director of Public Works Craig Beck said during a speech. “So what does that mean? That means, if we come down a street, we don’t just fix a pothole or repave it. We are also looking to make sure that if the gutter’s broken, we’ll fix the gutter. If we need an ADA ramp installed, the ADA ramp is installed. If the sidewalk is uplifted, that sidewalk gets fixed.”