When SB 1 became law last year, putting in place a new $5 billion-plus annual revenue stream to chip away at the $130 billion backlog in needed highway repairs and replacements at all levels of the state, we rejoiced.
Finally, California was set to deal with our depleted transportation infrastructure—road, bridge, and rail—work that is years overdue.
But all these and future improvements will vanish in the mist if the politically motivated Proposition 6, on the November ballot, repeals SB 1.
ECA has joined with some 300 groups adamantly opposed to Prop. 6 and in advocating for policies that help business, grow the economy, maintain a high quality of life, and in so doing, creates jobs.
Indeed, there is no bigger threat to California’s economy than Proposition 6, an ill-conceived attack on the “user pays” formula to fund transportation projects. Prop. 6, quite simply, will make us all less safe, kill good jobs, and cause businesses small and large needless delay and expense.
California has more than 1,600 bridges and overpasses that have been found to be unsafe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there were more than 3,600 fatalities on California roads–and poor roads are a major cause of accidents.
The vital projects Proposition 6 would eliminate include:
- 3,727 projects fixing potholes and repaving roads;
- 1,571 projects dedicated to improving road and driver safety;
- 554 bridge and overpass repair and replacement projects;
- 337 traffic congestion relief projects; and
- 453 projects improving public transportation.
California’s highways are projected to carry $3.9 trillion worth of goods annually by 2045. If Proposition 6 passes, the failure to repair our roads jeopardizes the ability to get goods to market. Every business leader wants their products on the shelves where customers can buy them–not sitting in a truck stuck on the I-5. Fixing California’s roads and bridges is estimated to generate $183 billion in economic growth and 68,000 good paying jobs over the next decade.
The money generated by SB 1 is now guaranteed for transportation purposes only. California voters took care of that in June when Proposition 69 passed with 81 percent of the vote, locking down funds and preventing future legislatures and governor from diverting them for other purposes.
This pay-as-you-go fuel tax funding in SB 1 is the same kind of approach taken by Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, and now Jerry Brown…and all 50 states and the federal government.
The Engineering Contractors’ Association remains in strong support of SB 1, and urges a ‘No’ vote in November on Proposition 6.
By Brandon Pensick, ECA President Email: [email protected]