However, the special session on transportation funding will not end when legislative leaders hit their gavels to adjourn the 2015 legislative year tomorrow night. Instead, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senate President pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) announced on Wednesday afternoon that they would call a conference committee on transportation which will meet this fall after the regular session.
Gov. Jerry Brown also spoke when the announcement was made and acknowledged the Fix Our Roads Coalition’s
efforts. The Sacramento Bee
quoted him saying, “The roads are going to get fixed. People are going to spare the money, whether it takes a week, a month, a year or two.”
The coalition, which comprises the League, the California State Association of Counties, the California Alliance for Jobs and representatives from local government, labor, business and transportation, issued a press statement
late yesterday afternoon: “We want to thank the Governor and legislative leadership for their pledge to continue the fight to come up with a transportation funding and reform package. We support the call for a conference committee to meet over the coming weeks. As the Governor pointed out, our broad coalition of local government, business, labor, and transportation advocates will intensify our efforts to push for a compromise agreement. Californians expect and deserve solutions to fix our deteriorating roads.”
Conference committees are comprised of Republicans and Democrats from both the Senate and the Assembly. Those members are empowered to negotiate on behalf of their caucuses. The League will update members on the committee once the members are officially appointed by Speaker Atkins and the Senate Rules Committee.
The Fix Our Roads Coalition formed when the Governor called the special session on transportation back in June. It put forward a $6 billion plan, with revenues split equally between the state and local governments, which would fund the preservation and maintenance of the road system. The Governor last week released his own proposed framework
that was built on ideas formed by the Fix Our Roads Coalition and both legislative caucuses. The package would provide $3.6 billion annually to address both the road system and transit needs.
It is not easy to keep the legislature focused on legislation during the fall, a time typically spent in their districts with constituents. Cities should continue to stress the importance of addressing the significant transportation funding shortfall when they see legislators. Once the conference committee membership is announced, the League and the Fix Our Roads Coalition will share additional details on how cities can help move this discussion forward.