The Fix Our Roads coalition, of which the League is a founding member, held the event in the Sacramento Convention Center near the Capitol to once again talk with reporters about the urgent need to pass a transportation funding plan. It comes down to “Pave me now or pay more later.”
State and local roads have a maintenance backlog of $130 billion and California motorists are spending more than $700 annually on car repairs due to pothole-filled roads. This backlog is divided between $59 billion for state highways and $73 billion for local streets and roads. The Fix Our Roads coalition formed in 2015 with representatives from cities, counties, business and labor groups to advocate for increased transportation funding for the entire system of local and state roadways.
President Mounce, an accountant by profession, spoke on behalf of the League and called for Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to uphold the promise they made to tackle the tough issue of funding California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure. “With 30 years of accounting experience, I know the importance of fiscal responsibility. And I strongly believe that protecting the investments of our taxpayers have already made should be a priority,” Mounce stressed.
She also discussed how the instability in how California pays for its roads has caused affected her city. In the past three years, President Mounce told reporters, Lodi has lost over $500,000 for street maintenance.
Speaking in both English and Spanish Sacramento City Council Member Eric Guerra, who is also a member of the League board of directors, addressed why the coalition supports SB 1 and AB 1, the packages respectively proposed by Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley). “These proposals are coupled with accountability and reform provisions to ensure we get the best bang for our buck.”
The Fix Our Roads coalition supports a transportation funding package that would raise at least $6 billion annually, the amount needed to begin to make a dent in the enormous backlog. At the same time, the coalition is also recommending accountability provisions to give taxpayers confidence that the new revenues will be spent on transportation projects only.
In November 2016, after the Special Session on Transportation failed to produce a funding package, Governor Brown, Pro Tem de León and Speaker Rendon promised
to ‘tackle this issue early in the new year’
. The Fix Our Roads coalition intends to hold them to that promise.
Joining President Mounce and Council Member Guerra at the podium for the news conference were representatives from other members of the Fix Our Roads coalition including:
- California Alliance for Jobs Executive Director Michael Quigley;
- Amador County Supervisor Richard Forster (immediate past president, California State Association of Counties);
- Sacramento County Supervisor District 1 Phil Serna;
- Sacramento Economic Council President and CEO Barry Broome; and
- Mark Kyle, Operating Engineers Local 3.