The March 6 press conference marks one month until the April 6 deadline set by Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-South Gate) to pass a transportation funding package.
If winter 2017 has driven home one lesson it is that infrastructure must be regularly maintained to prevent small problems from becoming larger and more expensive to fix. For far too long, California has neglected regular road maintenance and upkeep and the Fix Our Roads Coalition has been holding media events to talk with reporters about the dire status of local streets and roads.
The coalition, of which the League of California Cities®
is a founding member, supports a transportation funding package that would raise at least $6 billion annually. That is what is needed to begin to make a dent in the enormous backlog of transportation maintenance and improvement projects. At the same time, Fix Our Roads is also recommending accountability provisions to give taxpayers confidence that new revenues will be spent on transportation projects only. Sen. Beall’s SB 1 and AB 1, a companion measure by Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley), are both supported by Fix Our Roads.
Monday’s press conference comes just two days before SB 1’s March 8 hearing in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. This will be the third and final Senate policy committee hearing for SB 1 before heading to the Senate Appropriations Committee. In recent weeks the bill passed out of the Senate Transportation and Housing and Senate Environmental Quality committees.
Mayor Liccardo expressed his optimism that there is now momentum to pass a real transportation funding solution. “We’re thankful to the Governor, the Senate President pro Tem and the Speaker for their leadership. All three leaders have said that they will work to pass a transportation funding bill before April 6. We are here to keep them to that promise.”
Council Member Worth stressed what is at stake without investment in this system. “If the Legislature fails to act, in just 10 years that unmet funding need of $73 billion will grow by $20 billion for local streets and roads. That is just fiscally irresponsible. We urge legislators from both sides of the aisle to support a transportation funding package.
Additional speakers included:
- Sen. Jim Beall;
- Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, California State Association of Counties president and Alameda County Transportation Commission board member;
- Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese, who is also chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission;
- Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino;
- California Alliance for Jobs Executive Director Michael Quigley; and
- Mark Kyle, Operating Engineers Local 3, director of Government Affairs and Public Relations.
The 10 a.m. press conference brought out press from throughout the Bay Area region including:
- San Jose Mercury News;
- Bay City News Service;
- San Jose Business Journal;
- Sing Tao Daily;
- World Journal;
- KTVU-TV (Fox);
- KGO-TV (ABC);
- KPIX-TV (CBS);
- KNTV-TV (NBC);
- KSTS-TV (Telemundo); and
- KTSF-TV (Asian language).