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Keep California Moving – Fix the Roads Roundtable (Fresno)

Speaker Atkins Joins Business, Labor and Local Leaders to Keep California Moving

Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins discussing California’s transportation issues at Fresno press conference.

FRESNO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature’s special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to keep California moving.

_KeepCalfornia-Moving_info“The Central Valley is vital to California’s economy, and fixing our infrastructure is vital to the Central Valley,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “Many Valley communities and businesses are dependent on the lifelines provided by Highway 99 and Highway 5. They need to be kept in good shape. That’s why we are working closely with the state’s local elected officials and business community to ensure we can enact real solutions to the state’s transportation problems in this special session of the Legislature.”

“It’s fundamental that California be able to move goods and people in a modern, efficient way,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who called for a special session on transportation funding in June. “The problem is clear and we’re going to find the right path forward. The potholes don’t wait, the congestion doesn’t wait.”

A study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that peak-commute drivers in Fresno waste 23 hours a year sitting in traffic, resulting in an estimated cost of $495 per driver. More than 75% of motorists in Fresno County drive their own cars instead of taking public transportation, and that takes a heavy toll on the roads.

“Some of the roads in Stanislaus County are literally crumbling under my tires, and the Seventh Street Bridge in Modesto needs basic maintenance so badly it is no longer safe for heavy trucks and busses,” said Vito Chiesa, president of the California State Association of Counties and a Stanislaus County supervisor. “Reforms and accountability measures are needed to ensure taxpayer dollars are going toward transportation, but it is an indisputable fact that we need new revenues to address the severe maintenance backlog of our local streets and roads. I urge lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Sacramento to find a workable solution. The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost when we do finally fix our roads.”

Fixing all our roads now would cost more than $100 billion, but waiting 10 years would push the cost to nearly $300 billion. Every dollar invested in transportation infrastructure produces $5.20 in economic benefit, and every $1 billion that gets spent on transportation infrastructure leads to roughly 18,000 jobs.

Darius Assemi, Granville Homes President and CEO and California Transportation Commission Commissioner, added, “We need more revenue along with reforms to ensure Californians’ tax dollars are spent wisely, and solely used for transportation purposes to fix our deteriorating roads.”

Transportation funding has not kept pace with the state’s aging infrastructure. Most of the funding comes from gasoline excise taxes, which have not kept up with inflation. California collects 30 cents per gallon, a value that hasn’t increased in 25 years and, in fact, decreased by 6 cents in July. This means that the purchasing power of today’s excise tax is at an all-time low. Increased fuel-efficiency standards allow cars to travel more miles with less gas, also generating fewer gas-tax dollars to fix the roads.

According to multiple studies in recent years, California faces numerous transportation problems:

  • California has the second-highest share of roads in “poor condition” in the nation. More than half of our state roads need rehabilitation or pavement maintenance.
  • Our state has six of the 10 cities with the worst road conditions in the nation.
  • Nearly 1/3 of our bridges and overpasses show signs of deterioration, or do not meet design standards.
  • Nearly 70% of California’s urban roads and highways are congested.

Website of Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins: http://asmdc.org/speaker

Statement from Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego)

“The Governor’s signature is the next step for a prudent and progressive budget that will make California a better place to live, work and play. We are sending more money to schools, helping working families by expanding child care and preschool and establishing a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and we improve higher education funding and financial aid. The budget the Governor signed today makes important investments and pays down debt while adding to state reserves. It is not only a reflection of our state’s economic health, but a plan that will continue to help build California’s fiscal fitness.
“While the budget signed today is clearly the best one we’ve had in years, there is more work to do on Medi-Cal, DDS and infrastructure. Today, I will be appointing the members of the Assembly committees for the special sessions that have been called on health care and infrastructure. Those committees will take the lead in resolving the important issues still before us.”

More information on specific budget funding fought for and secured by Assembly Democrats is available.

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Devasting Fires

Fixing the Roads

What Members Are Saying

Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, District 14
"The over 280,000 Californians who are our friends, family and community members should no longer endure being stripped of vital resources such as transportation, respite care, along with independent and supported living programs. These services are not only cost-saving to the state, but most importantly they are essential to the health and well-being of our developmentally disabled community."

Assemblymember Susan Eggman, District 13
"This issue is of immense importance to all Californians, and I was confident that the full Assembly, reflective of and responsive to the people it represents, would do the right thing and move us closer to making it possible for terminally-ill Californians to decide for themselves how to manage their last days.

Assemblymember Luis Alejo, District 30
"It is important that students build knowledge of the various racial and ethnic groups in our state. Assembly Bill 101 is the vehicle to make that a reality, cultural diversity is inherent to the development of human and civil rights, and Ethnic Studies enhances student achievement as an essential component of a culturally diverse education."

Assemblymember Chris Holden, District 41
"In our high-tech economy, a college degree will no longer be an option; it will be a requirement for jobs of the future. Concurrent enrollment opens doors of opportunity for students who might never have thought it possible to go to college."

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, District 56
"Our disadvantaged communities continue to be disproportionately burdened by traffic congestion, poor air quality, obesity due to physical inactivity, and other negative impacts of our transportation system—and my bill seeks to remedy that."

Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell, District 70
"LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide and suffer significantly higher dropout rates than their straight peers. Giving teachers the tools they need to foster a supportive learning experience will improve academic achievement and make our schools safer for LGBTQ students."