It’s not about politics; it’s about fixing failing infrastructure
As the November elections near, California residents see many political advertisements on television, including those about Prop. 6. Being on the ballot technically puts the gas tax issue in the political forum, but voters should not lose sight of what is at the heart of this initiative: funding for California’s failing infrastructure.
Debunking DeMaio and why you must vote No on Prop 6
Proposition 6 campaign leader Carl DeMaio has made many incorrect claims and spouted clear deception in his effort to repeal S.B. 1. DeMaio wants to know where the money goes. Californians should know where the money goes. This is why it is important for voters to be clear about the facts:
DeMaio Deception #1: Transportation money goes into the General Fund and none of the money goes to new roads.
Fact: Not a single dollar of gas tax funds goes to the General Fund. Funds from the gas tax are dedicated to the Motor Vehicle Fuel Account and the Highway Users Tax Account which are constitutionally and statutorily dedicated to transportation improvements.
- California Constitution Article XIX, Section 2: “Revenues from taxes imposed by the State on motor vehicle fuels for use in motor vehicles upon public streets and highways…shall be deposited in the Highway Users Tax Account…which is hereby declared to be a trust fund…”
- California Constitution Article XIX, Section 1: “The Legislature shall not borrow revenue from the Highway Users Tax Account…and shall not use these revenues for purposes…other than those specifically permitted by this article.”
- Revenue & Taxation Code, Sections7360(a)(1),8651(a)(5)&7392;Section7360(b)(1); Sections 60050(b)(1) – (2) & 6201.8.
Additionally, in June 2018, 81% of voters overwhelmingly passed Prop 69. This constitutionally prevents Sacramento politicians from raiding the new transportation improvement fees (vehicle fees) and ensuring these funds are only used for transportation improvements.
DeMaio Deception #2: California can use existing revenues to fix roads and all roads could be fixed if 100 percent of gas tax revenues to went toward roads.
Fact: One hundred percent of gas tax revenues ARE constitutionally dedicated to transportation improvements.
- California Constitution Article XIX, Section 1 and 2.
- Revenue & Taxation Code, Sections7360(a)(1),8651(a)(5)&7392; Section7360(b)(1); Sections 60050(b)(1) – (2) & 6201.8.
California still has a combined need of over $130 billion over the next 10 years just to bring the state highway and local street and road systems into a good and safe condition. Lawmakers did not increase transportation funding for more than 23 years and current funding has not kept pace with demand or inflation.
If the state was to use funds from the General Fund, it would still be necessary to pull $130 billion from important areas like education, healthcare, public safety, and other programs that Californians rely upon.
Proposition 6 eliminates more than $5 billion annually in existing funding currently being used on more than 6,500 road and bridge safety, congestion relief and transportation improvement projects all over the state. Educated voters recognize the real issue boils down to the safety of Californians as well as an economic impact to the state overall.
Skip Carter, California Highway Patrol Deputy Commissioner (Ret.) Says Vote NO on Prop 6. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show more than 3,600 people die every year due to accidents on the state’s roadways. Bad infrastructure is often a contributing factor. For example, a location where a notably fatal accident occurred had been a proposed site for a bridge since the 1990s. The money to fund construction was never made available until the passage of SB 1.
When bridges collapse or accidents occur, there is often public outcry to fix what is broken. Making repairs and upgrades before tragedy strikes seems like a no-brainer. Yet, Prop. 6 would not only eliminate the funds to fix failing infrastructure, it would mean response times for first responders could be delayed due to poor road conditions that persist without repair.
Kristina Swallow, P.E. ASCE 2018 President Says Vote NO on Prop 6. The American Society of Civil Engineers get an up-close view of infrastructure that average citizens quickly drive by every day. Their recent infrastructure report card gives California roads the grade of D. Many of California’s bridges were built in the 1950s; some decades older. Forty-four percent of the states roads are in poor condition.
California lacks adequate funds to address these critical infrastructure deficiencies. In fact, there is a $130 billion backlog in deferred maintenance. The passage of SB 1 raises about $5.2 billion a year to go toward state-maintained transportation infrastructure, local roads, transit agencies and an expansion of pedestrian and cycle routes.
Prop. 6 would take away these funds and current projects could be eliminated. No projects mean no jobs for tens of thousands of people in construction and across other supporting industries every year.
Prop. 6 impacts every Californian
Jenny, California Mom & Driver Says Vote NO on Prop 6. Throughout the Golden State, there are millions of people using unsafe roads and bridges to get to and from school, work, soccer practices, doctor’s visits and grocery shopping every day. Potholes don’t ask about political stances. Congested freeways slow Republicans and Democrats equally.
During a time when there is so much division, it might be tempting for a voter to simply toe the party line as a show of support. But Prop. 6 shouldn’t simply be seen as a political issue. Voting NO on Prop. 6 is important for all Californians, whether they favor red or blue. Infrastructure impacts everyone. Cutting off vital funds needed for improvements sets us all back.