Senate Bill 1 Approved by Transportation Committee
SACRAMENTO – Senate Bill 1, an urgency bill to kick-start billions of dollars in long overdue street and highway repairs, was approved today on a 8-3 vote by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
“This is a first step toward making our roads safer, improving our quality of life and giving a much needed boost to our economy,’’ said Senator Jim Beall, who oversees the committee. “With much of our road and bridge infrastructure past its expected lifespan, rehab and maintenance costs for both the state system and local streets and roads are skyrocketing.
“Our roads have been neglected to the point where deterioration is accelerating at an alarming rate, making our roads increasingly unsafe. The recent storms underscore the fragility of the transportation infrastructure and just how quickly things can come to a halt. Forty-five out of 58 counties have local roads that are rated ‘at risk’ or worse as measure by the Statewide Pavement condition index.
“SB 1 updates California’s transportation funding system and give us the resources to bring our roads up to 21st century standards. We can’t ignore repairs because a crumbling infrastructure will adversely impact the state’s economy. Postponing maintenance will cost future generations billions because they will be grappling with roads that will require rebuilding instead of mere repairs.’’
Dozens of local governments, business groups, and labor groups have thrown their support behind the bill. They include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. the Bay Area Council, the California Transportation Commission; BART; the California Alliance for Jobs; and over 50 cities.
SB 1 would raise more than $5 billion for road repairs by increasing the registration fee by $38 increase for gasoline-burning vehicles and $100 for zero-emission vehicles. It also would make a modest adjustment to the gas excise tax to be phased in over three years; increase the price-based gas excise tax by 7.5¢ per-gallon; adjust the diesel excise tax by 20¢ per-gallon; and increase the diesel sales tax by 4 percent. The revenue would be split by the state and local governments.
The proposal calls for increasing the percentage of the Cap and Trade’s mass transit railing funding from the existing 10 percent to 20 percent as well as the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program allocation from 5 percent to 10 percent. The increases will help speed projects to get cars off the road and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. SB also 1 includes reforms to expedite project delivery and improve efficiencies through more public/private partnerships and more use of private engineering services to help the state, regional, and local governments build projects faster and cheaper.
SB 1 is next scheduled to be reviewed by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
Two members of the transportation committee did not vote today.