LOS ANGELES—Declaring the urgent need to keep California moving, 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 the state.
“Currently, the state has $59 billion in deferred maintenance for transportation projects,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “We've been working with a broad bipartisan coalition that includes business and labor leaders, transportation experts and officials from the state, cities and counties. Our next steps will be working with Republicans in the Legislature. It may be a bumpy road, but we believe that we can find a solution that will concretely and tangibly make Californians' lives better by making safer roads that keep goods and people moving.”
“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 July TRIP report found that 73% of major roads in Los Angeles are deteriorated and that drivers pay as much as $1,031 annually due to the city's poor road conditions, which are second-worst in the country. Additionally, Los Angeles drivers with a 30-minute commute are delayed an additional 95 hours each year sitting in traffic.
“There is no question that we need to move quickly to repair our transportation infrastructure,” added Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Anyone who walks, rides, bikes or drives knows that our streets are in a state of crisis. Getting to a solution this legislative session won't be easy, but I am committed to getting it done. Now is the time for California's Legislature to come together to tackle this clear and urgent need, because the future of our state deserves nothing less.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said, “In Los Angeles County, there is an estimated $10 billion shortfall in transportation funding. Between the unincorporated areas and 15 contract cities, Los Angeles County oversees and maintains over 4,000 miles of roadway infrastructure. Today, I want to thank Governor Brown and the Legislature for recognizing the need for long term sustainable transportation funding.”
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.
“California's lack of investment in our transportation infrastructure is evident in our pothole-pocked roads and our crumbling bridges. Clogged roads and rundown streets hurt our mobility and goods movement and our economy,” said Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “We need the Legislature to pass a funding package that includes strict accountability to ensure transportation revenues go to fixing our streets and 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.
“On behalf of the Los Angeles Labor Movement, we look forward to working with state and local leaders to create a pathway for sustainable transportation funding. Having strong infrastructure is vital to the workers that keep L.A. moving and thriving,” added Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
“Transportation funds must first be used more efficiently and for their intended purpose,” said Tracy Rafter, Founding CEO of Los Angeles County Business Federation. “However, existing revenues are not enough to reverse the decades-long underinvestment in our streets and roads. New revenue, tied to strict accountability and key reforms to speed up projects, is needed.”
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
CONTACT: John Casey (916) 319-2408