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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | chapter wide

If Measure C passes, get ready for gridlock and water scarcity

The Well-Informed Voter

• Find the Community General Plan Initiative (CGPI) online at
• Find the 2006 Monterey County General Plan (GPU4) at Jan2007/defaultJan.htm
• Find the League of Women Voters side-by-side comparison of CGPI and GPU4, including Spanish translation, at

Vote YES on Measure A
Vote NO on Measure C

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires government agencies to analyze the impacts of government decisions on the built environment as well as the natural environment. To understand the full impact of Monterey County’s 2006 General Plan (GPU4) and the broad opposition to this plan, we must examine current conditions in Monterey County. In short, we’re in trouble. Our water sources are over-pumped; our roads are in disrepair and congested. The proposed GPU4 (Measure C) could push the infrastructure over the brink.

Groundwater pumped from over-drafted aquifers is the only water source for most Monterey County residents and businesses. In all three major watersheds, well levels are declining; contaminant concentrations are increasing; seawater intrusion is advancing.

In the Salinas Basin, the Salinas Valley Water Project is under-funded and has not received final federal permits. Its projected benefits are considered “indirect and uncertain” even by proponents. Its price tag in 2001 was estimated at $16 million, and although it has not yet been built, the planned water project has been used to rationalize further subdivision throughout the Salinas Valley. According to the water project’s own EIR, by 2030, an additional distribution system will be required at a cost of $42 million. This is a 2001 cost estimate and does not include cost of mitigation or on-going operations.

Since 1995, California American Water has been under a court order to reduce pumping of the Carmel River aquifer by 10,000 acre-feet per year. Despite the order, subdivision within the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District has continued. The estimated cost to build a desalination plant in Moss Landing to replace water illegally pumped from the Carmel River aquifer is $200 million.

The management plan to bring the Pajaro Valley basin into balance has been partially implemented. However, the planned, but un-funded import pipeline from the Central Valley is estimated to cost $87 million. Flood control in the Pajaro River watershed is estimated by the Army Corps of Engineers to cost $220 million.

Repair and maintenance deficiencies on existing Monterey County roads total more than $200 million. In addition to repair and maintenance deficiencies, in Monterey County the flow of traffic, known as level of service (LOS), have declined, as growth has outstripped road improvements. To bring existing conditions up to LOS C (average 45mph, susceptible to congestion), the estimated cost would total $3.2 billion. Meeting a LOS D standard (average 40mph, unstable traffic flow) would cost $280 million. The Transportation Agency of Monterey County has identified only $67 million as being available for these projects.

Under GPU4 the number of road segments operating at level of service E (near gridlock) and level of service F (gridlock) would more than double.

GPU4 would allow twice the growth
Based on population growth projections, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) forecasts a need, during the next 25 years, for 8,900 new homes in rural Monterey County. GPU4 would allow more than twice that level of growth, with more than 21,000 new homes scattered throughout 56 rural areas.

Measure C would increase traffic by 231,000 - 273,400 vehicle trips per day—a 52% to 61% increase. The number of road segments operating at level of service E (near gridlock) and level of service F (gridlock) would more than double. Under GPU4, new development would not be required to mitigate traffic impacts until it dragged level of service down below LOS D. The current standard that requires mitigation is LOS C.

Moreover, neither projects nor funding mechanisms have been identified to provide water for GPU4’s level of growth.

In a county with a population of about 420,000, the cost of solving existing water and traffic problems for present residents is staggering. Encouraging growth far beyond what is required to meet projected population needs is both irresponsible and unacceptable.

Vote NO on Measure C, the 2006 Monterey County General Plan.
For more information visit


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