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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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Fixing the Roads

What Members Are Saying

Speaker Toni G. Atkins, District 78
“Immigrants helped build California, immigrants shape the California we know today, and immigrants will help propel California into the future. On behalf of my colleagues in the Assembly, I am proud to support Immigrant Heritage Month to honor the immigrants who are such an important part of our economy and culture.”

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, District 7
"We owe it to our children and we owe it to the families across California, to ensure that children are ready to start school and be successful. AB 47 will ensure that we keep the promise made to our preschoolers last year and provide each of our low-income children access to quality preschool."

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, District 24
“This Supreme Court decision, which finds that states cannot prohibit same-sex marriage, is historic not only for the LGBT community, but also for all Americans who value fairness and equality. The institution of marriage provides over 1,000 legal and financial privileges. More importantly, it is a powerful symbol of a couple's love and commitment.”

Assemblymember Nora Campos, District 27
"I applaud the Supreme Court for turning back the attempt to undermine the ACA and upholding the tax credits to families who buy health insurance through the federal marketplace. I am confident that the ACA will continue to rein in the cost of health insurance and provide access for all Americans to the security of knowing that a doctor and medical assistance is within reach."

Assemblymember Das Williams, District 37
“I’m most interested in ensuring the UC and CSU systems are funded at a level that expands students’ enrollment; and that community colleges, maintain their increased funding. As a champion for higher education, I know it is imperative that new graduates are as prepared as possible to enter today’s modern, expanding workforce.”

Assemblymember Shirley Weber, District 79
“In addition to increasing funding for K-12 education by $8.2 billion, this budget makes sizeable investments in early education, higher education and student financial aid. Also included is the centerpiece of our efforts to reduce poverty - the Earned Income Tax Credit - that will help improve the financial stability and increase the buying power of 825,000 working families in California.”