The Nov. 2 election that saw voters approve a $10 vehicle license fee to pay for local road and transportation projects is barely over, but most cities already have a good idea how they will spend the money.

The estimated $6.7 million generated annually by Measure M, which passed with 54.7 percent support, must be used on road or transportation projects, though cities have wide discretion within those categories.

The money will go to local streets and roads, divided according to population and road miles, while the other half will be used on regional transportation needs, including ­Caltrain and SamTrans.

Most cities haven’t had a chance to approve new projects funded by the measure, which was put on the ballot by the City/County Association of Governments, but officials say they already have an idea of their most-pressing needs.

In San Carlos, it’s about keeping the streets in decent shape. A 2008 report found the city’s roads are in fair condition and needed about $1.1 million per year in maintenance, Public Works Director Robert Weil said.

But major budget problems have left less than $6,000 for the work, so the extra $128,341 the city will receive from Measure M will “help to keep [road conditions] from going off the edge,” he said.

“It could be pothole patching, crack alignment, it could be just a seal coat on the street,” Weil said. “If you time it right, you can extend the life of the street out pretty cost-effectively.”

Daly City’s Public Works director said he has a different priority in mind for the city’s $306,000 share — complying with stricter stormwater requirements.

Public Works Director John Fuller said Measure M is one of the few sources that will be available to keep up with updated rules from water regulators that require cleaning and analysis of trash in stormwater systems.

“We’re going to have to spend a lot of money on trash capture devices and monitoring and other stuff,” Fuller said. “This is one place where we can get money.”

The struggling Caltrain and SamTrans expect to get a large portion of the other $3.2 million dedicated for regional transportation. No specific uses have been identified yet, but “it’s always good to get operating funds because those come along much less frequently than capital funds,” Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

“Every little bit helps,” she said.

Smoothing out the bumps

The top 10 largest recipients of the $3.2 million in local roads funding from Measure M:

San Mateo County $386,806
San Mateo $350,562
Daly City $305,999
Redwood City $280,747
South San Francisco $228,162
Pacifica $153,891
San Bruno $151,514
Menlo Park $143,095
San Carlos $128,341
Burlingame $125,668

Source: City/County Association of Governments

Road work choices

Cities have a menu of options to choose from in spending the Measure M transportation funds:

  • Pavement resurfacing and rehabilitation
  • Pothole repair
  • Signage and striping
  • Traffic signal systems
  • Local shuttles/transportation
  • Street sweeping
  • Roadway storm inlet cleaning
  • Street side runoff treatment

Source: C/CAG

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