April 2015 Newsletter
LEXINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GETS $3.9 MILLION IN STATE FUNDING
After working with the Los Gatos Union School District for more than two years, I am glad to report that I was able to help persuade the State Allocation Board to reimburse the district for $3.9 million in hazard mitigation costs related to the construction of the new Lexington School District.
The board approved the multi-million dollar grant after listening to my testimony during a hearing this month. I was the only person to speak before the board on the issue but I was also supported by school district officials who were in attendance.
The old Lexington school was closed in 2012 and demolished to make way for the construction of a new school on the site of the original school. The new $24 million school opened in August 2014.
During construction, the school district spent millions more than anticipated to meet seismic safety standards and to mitigate landslide, soil grade, and fire hazards.
The district eventually filed a Facility Hardship request with the State Allocation Board, seeking reimbursement for the extra funds spent in construction.
FUNDING COMMUNITY COLLEGES
Join me for an April 30 town hall forum at De Anza College with Assemblymember Evan Low that will review how the proposed state budget will affect our community colleges. For more information or to RSVP click here or contact the Senate District 15 office at (408) 558-1295.
REPAIRING OUR CRUMBLING ROADS
California has a $59 billion backlog in deferred road maintenance. The crumbling condition of our freeways and roads reduces their efficiency and increases the propensity for accidents. The potholes and cracks also cost our state's motorists an estimated $44 billion in related vehicle repairs, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group.
The longer we wait to repair our aging transportation infrastructure, the more it will cost us. We must act now.
The state requires a long-term solution to finance the repairs. Currently, a special group on which I serve - the Road Charge Technical Advisory Committee - is studying and analyzing potential funding strategies. It is scheduled to make a recommendation to the California Transportation Commission in three years. Meanwhile, California urgently needs a workable interim solution so that we can begin whittling down the backlog.
As the chairman of the Senate's Transportation Committee, I have introduced SB 16, a five-year plan that ensures everyone who uses our roads will share in the cost of the repairs.
This bill addresses the issues behind the chronic underfunding of our maintenance budget - dwindling gas tax revenues that have not been adjusted for more than 20 years; zero-emission vehicles that do not contribute to the gas tax; and the diversion of truck weight fees from road maintenance and into the general fund.
The bill, if passed, would boost highway and road maintenance funds by more than $3 billion annually. The bill also contains a "lock box" provision, a requirement that revenue raised under SB 16 is to be solely used for road maintenance.
Besides providing California with additional resources to restore state freeways and roads, SB 16 directs funding to cities and counties, bolstering their budgets for local street repairs.
To learn more about SB 16, click here.
In observance of Earth Day this week, I'm inviting you to the Great American Litter Pick-Up on Saturday, April 25, at over 20 locations throughout San Jose. For more information, please click here. On the day of the event, register at your meeting location and receive litter cleanup supplies.
California is entering its fourth year of severe drought. It's up to everyone to use water wisely. For ideas and tips on how to reduce your water use, visit the "Save Our Water'' website.