SACRAMENTO - The state of California intends to commit more than $52 billion toward infrastructure projects, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday. Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon joined Brown to make the announcement.
The landmark transportation legislation, The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, would invest $5 billion a year over the next 10 years. Funds will go directly toward road repairs, as well as safety and transit upgrades to local roads and state highways.
Watch the announcement here.
“This is a milestone. This is a common-sense measure,” Gov. Brown said. “We could borrow, and some people like to borrow. But that kicks the can down the road and puts the burden (on) later generations.”
In addition to this proposal being the largest investment in the state’s history to fix roads and provide transportation infrastructure improvements, the revenue will be constitutionally protected so that funds raised are strictly dedicated to transportation. This adjustment will stabilize available funding going forward.
Brown, acknowledging “yes, it costs money,” said the repairs and improvements will benefit and improve quality of life for everyone in the state. He also likened broken roads to a leaking roof.
“If the roof in your house is leaking, you better fix it, because it gets worse all the time. There’s really not a choice. If you don’t fix the leak, your furniture will be ruined, your rug will be destroyed, the wood will rot,” he said.
While critics of the proposal argue that Californians should not have to foot a tax-increase for funds that already exist in the state’s general obligation fund, supporters behind the governor’s proposal — such as the Associated General Contractors of California (AGC) — say the general fund cannot be depended on.
“The misunderstanding of revenue availability has gone on for years that have precluded any action on transportation funds coming to fruition,” AGC of California Chief Executive Officer Tom Holsman said.
Each year, California drivers spend an average of $700 per year in vehicle repairs caused by bad roads.
“By spreading the tax across a broader spectrum, it will actually reduce cost to motorists. You’re looking at a $48 annual increase at the pump, and a $100 annual increase in vehicle registration for hybrids, versus what you’re currently paying in repairs,” Holsman said.
As a founding member of Transportation California and an active participant in the Fix Our Roads Coalition, AGC of California and the coalition have urged legislators to find a long-term transportation funding solution since last year.
After Brown’s announcement Wednesday, Holsman praised the governor’s plan.
“The plan strategically aligns with our industry's efforts to address the backlog of projects and secures future revenue that will be used for its stated purpose. Let’s not further delay; Urge Legislators to pass this package,” he said.
A vote is expected in both the Senate and Assembly on April 6.
AGC is urging all members to contact their legislators to urge their support for the Road Repair bill. Visit www.fixcaroads.com/call/ to take action.