The committee also heard testimony from Jennifer Whiting, the League’s assistant legislative director, and the California State Association of Counties on how cities and counties are responding to similar reductions in their allocations of the gas tax.
Hearing participants appeared cautiously optimistic about the results of the informational hearing. Committee members showed bipartisan support for finding a path forward. Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) asked the California Transportation Commission Executive Director Will Kempton about the commission’s recommendations for reforms
, and expressed that reforms must be part of a final package. Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) responded to panel testimony from local governments with impassioned comments on the need for swift and meaningful action by the Legislature.
As the Legislature continues its negotiations on a transportation funding package, it is important that cities continue to stress the need for immediate action to not only address the cuts to STIP, but more importantly to approve a long-range transportation funding plan. Friday, Feb. 19 is the deadline for the introduction of bills, and it will be far too easy for the Legislature to lose focus on this issue. As Ms. Whiting testified during the hearing, “If our roads were already in good condition, this is a storm we might be able to weather. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.” The time for action is now.