Public safety leaders and labor organizations joined government officials to voice strong opposition to Proposition 6 last week, warning that repealing California’s gas tax would be destructive and harmful to public safety. Press conferences were held in the state’s capital city of Sacramento and in Southern California cities.

Speakers discussed what is at stake if voters pass Prop. 6, while highlighting the local road, bridge and transportation projects the measure jeopardizes. Prop. 6 eliminates more than $5 billion annually in existing transportation funds and stops funding for more than 6,500 bridge and road safety, transportation and public transit improvement projects currently underway throughout California. If it passes, construction will come to a halt in cities and counties, making road conditions even worse.

Prop. 6 is opposed by a broad coalition of more than 300 public safety organizations, engineers, local transportation agencies, cities, counties, environmental groups, business and labor organizations throughout California — including the California Professional Firefighters, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Associated General Contractors of California, the California Chamber of Commerce, and the League of California Cities.

League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman stressed the fact that bad road conditions affect everyone. “Since the beginning of this campaign, I’ve said there are no partisan potholes; only dangerous potholes. Prop. 6 is bad for our cities and for our citizens,” said Coleman. She emphasized that the measure puts public safety at risk. “Prop. 6 would eliminate funding for thousands of projects in cities across California, fixing potholes and repaving our crumbling, unsafe roads,” said Coleman. “Prop. 6 is a public safety threat, and that’s why I strongly urge all Californians to vote ‘no’ on Prop. 6.”

At a Coachella Valley press conference, local elected officials, firefighters and others voiced their opposition to the gas tax repeal. Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon and Cathedral City Mayor Stan Henry spoke alongside union leaders representing local firefighters and carpenters to express concern about the public safety issues raised by Prop 6.

Mayor Henry called Proposition 6, “the most destructive initiative on the ballot in November,” and, citing his background in law enforcement, explained how low road quality lengthens emergency response times and contributes to accidents.

Riverside City firefighter Tim Strack, President of the county firefighters union, echoed Henry’s emphasis on public safety and called Proposition 6 “a reckless step backward that turns back the clock on road and bridge safety.” “As a first responder here in Riverside County, I know delayed response times are critical minutes lost when it comes to saving lives,” he said.

Mayor Moon said the gas tax revenue is being used to support many vital local projects. Mayor Henry agreed, adding that he saw the issue as being more about what was good for the community than politics. “It’s not about partisanship. We can’t do this work if we don’t have the funding,” he said.

“Southern California Partnership for Jobs supports infrastructure investment. We advocated for the passage of SB 1, a new transportation funding source that is becoming ever more critical for California. We oppose any efforts to repeal SB 1 that would rob our communities of vital road safety and transportation improvement funds. We urge Californians to vote No on Prop 6 this November.” — John Hakel, Executive Director.

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No on Prop 6: Stop the Attack on Bridge and Road Safety.

Source: Various