FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – In a 5-1 vote, the Fresno City Council moved in favor of renewing Measure C, a half-cent sales tax that’s funded local roads and transportation for decades in Fresno County.

“Measure C has improved our communities. 24 of the 35 neighborhoods that I represent have gotten repaved, curbed-sided; gutter, drainage problems have been resolved, and that’s a good thing,” said Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez.

If the measure is then approved by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Friday, it will go on the November ballot. Measure C would be in place from 2027 to 2057 and is expected to generate around $6.8 billion.

“This plan is good for Fresno residents,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias was the only one who voted against it.

“I don’t think it’s ready for voters. We’ve been rushed. I don’t know when it became standard to renew a tax five years before it expires,” he argued.

The current Measure C doesn’t expire until 2027. Arias also raised concerns over how much funding the City of Fresno would get: 48%.

“We’re not fairly represented and we don’t have a voice that equals the population that we’re responsible for.”

Advocacy groups and public commenters also urged the City Council to hold off on placing Measure C until 2024. They say more community input is needed.

“To date, the community has not been meaningfully included and that’s resulted in a plan that has potholes, that’s riddled with loopholes that really wouldn’t benefit our communities in the way that communities have been asking for,” said Veronica Garibay, co-executive director at Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Garibay points out that the proposed plan limits how the city and county officials can spend the largest spending category – 51% or $3.5 billion – for new sidewalks, bike lanes, trees, and safe routes to school. The renewed measure supports repairs for existing roads.

“Barriers like that would make it next to impossible for small communities, neighborhoods without basic infrastructure, neighborhoods that had been left behind, from really seeing their tax dollars at work for them.”

She says the new measure should invest more in public transportation.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta sent a letter to Fresno City Council on Wednesday, referencing his trip to Fresno this week and echoing what he heard from community leaders: “They have expressed concerns regarding their experience of a lack of adequate public process involved with setting the Renewal Plan’s proposed expenditure,” he wrote in part.

The Fresno County Transportation Authority, a coalition of local leaders in Fresno County overseeing Measure C, says it held several community meetings, polls, and other engagement efforts to get community input.

Council President Nelson Esparza abstained from voting on the transportation tax renewal. The plan was adopted by 14 cities in Fresno County and the Board of Supervisors.

“All we’re doing is asking voters if they approve it. If they don’t like it, we’ll come back to the drawing board,” said Councilmember Chavez.