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League, Cities, Transportation Advocates Gearing up for SB 1 Hearing on Feb. 14

Cities Urged to Send Support Letters to Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Prior to Hearing

February 10, 2017
Less than a week after Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) announced an April 6 deadline to pass a transportation funding package, the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 14 will hold the first policy committee hearing on League-supported SB 1.
 
Members of the Fix Our Roads Coalition, of which the League is a founding member, will be testifying in support of Sen. Jim Beall’s (D-San Jose) bill that generates an additional $6 billion annually for California’s local and state transportation network. Californians cannot afford to wait any longer for the passage of a meaningful transportation funding package. The system that California residents, businesses and visitors rely on is crumbling. It comes down to pave now or pay more later.
 
State and local roads have a maintenance backlog of $130 billion and California motorists are spending more than $700 annually on car repairs due to pothole-filled roads. This backlog is divided between $59 billion for state highways and $73 billion for local streets, roads, and bridges. Without additional funding, this shortfall is projected to grow by $20 billion in the next decade.
 
The Special Session on Transportation Funding ended on Nov. 30, 2016 without an approved package, however, the Governor, Senate President pro Tem and Assembly Speaker committed to getting work done on transportation early in the session. On Feb. 8 they announced an April 6 deadline to get this done.
 
The coalition had a press conference in mid-January with hundreds of city officials who were in Sacramento for the League’s New Mayors and Council Members Academy. Sen. Beall also recently held an informational hearing on roadway funding needs and the Fix Our Roads Coalition held a briefing for legislators and staff in the Capitol. Next Tuesday’s hearing though is the first debate this year on legislation. Assembly Member Jim Frazier’s (D-Oakley) AB 1, which is similar to SB 1, has not been set for hearing yet.
 
City-by-city estimates show what each California city receives under SB 1 and AB 1. In brief, AB 1 and SB 1 raises revenue through a variety of sources:
  • A 12 cent increase to the gas tax (SB 1 would phase this increase in over three years);
  • Ending the Board of Equalization’s “true up” process on the unreliable price based excise tax on gas;
  • A $38 increase to the vehicle registration fee;
  • A $100 vehicle registration fee on zero emission vehicles;
  • A 20 cent increase to the diesel excise tax;
  • $300 million from existing Cap-and-Trade funds; and
  • $500 million in vehicle weight fees phased in over five years.  
Take Action to Support SB 1
 
Many cities have formally supported SB 1 and AB 1, but legislators need to hear from more cities about the importance of passing a sustainable transportation funding package.
 
The League has prepared a sample letter cities can use and tailor with examples from their own. Letters should be sent to Sen. Beall, chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee along with each city’s senator and Assembly member.
 
The sample letter, along with the League’s letter and bill language can be found at www.cacities.org/BillSearch by plugging SB 1 into the search function.


 
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