Proposition 6 is officially on the November ballot. The measure has been brought forth in an attempt to repeal Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act. Since the passage of SB 1, funds have gone toward numerous infrastructure and transportation projects throughout the state. Without dedicate monies for repairs, it will greatly impact progress.
The Sacramento Bee reports the California Department of Transportation and local agencies say they would try to finish all active projects, but projects that haven’t started construction would have to be canceled, downsized or delayed indefinitely.
Prop 6 could stop projects
If funds are halted due to the passage of Proposition 6, Caltrans would get hit hard and lose about a third of its nearly $14 billion budget. More than 200 projects have already been awarded to contractors or are in the design and planning phase, and 56 others are currently under construction.
Caltrans spokesman Matt Rocco told The Sacramento Bee the state used the majority of the money it received from SB 1 on highway maintenance to complete 17 projects statewide.
“These projects are fixing roads that we use to take our kids to schools,” he said. “We use these roads to get to work. We’re already making an impact. We’ve got 17 projects and it may not sound like a lot, but for those who use the roads everyday, it’s made a big difference.”
Voters wondering where the SB 1 funds go only need to take a look at the map to see the improvements in their area. In SoCal this includes:
- Repairs to Route 78: 71 lane miles — approximately 40 travel miles
- The North County Transit District: purchase of five new locomotives
- Westminster and Huntington Beach: resurfacing nearly five miles on State Routes 1 and 39
- San Bernardino and Riverside counties: four separate projects covering just over 300 miles of the 10 Freeway
- San Diego: the Sorrento to Miramar Double Track project to improve rail service along the corridor
Jobs, safety also at risk with repeal effort
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that road repairs mean more than an easier and more efficient commute. The $5 billion expected from SB 1 will help employ 650,000 people over the next 10 years. Without it, those positions are at risk.
Even more importantly, the safety of everyone who drives aging California roads, goes over bridges or utilizes any part of transportation infrastructure will have to ponder its true condition. The American Society of Civil Engineers last year gave the U.S. a “D+” grade on their Infrastructure Report Card. California was one of the worst states in the nation. There is a $130 billion backlog in deferred maintenance. SB 1 funds not only go toward those needs, but it is a long-term transportation solution.
Until SB 1, the gas tax hadn’t been raised in 23 years. It’s important to vote NO on Prop 6 because SB 1 finally allows progress to be made on infrastructure that has been pushed to the back burner again and again. If we really are seeking to better tomorrow, SB 1 funds are a vital investment.