For Immediate Release: January 9th, 2014
Southern California -- Ryan Wiggins, 760-707-7019
Bay Area – Stuart Cohen, 510-543-7419
Sacramento – Joshua Stark, 916-893-2181
State Transportation Gets New Direction, and Funding in Governor’s Proposed Budget
Sacramento - What a difference a year makes. With stronger state revenues, and new directions set by a Transportation Priorities workgroup, Governor Brown released a preliminary state budget that points to a new direction for transportation in California. The budget proposal includes an increase of $1.7 billion over current levels while shifting priorities to focus on linking the state with rail, critically needed funding to repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges and investments in sustainable communities.
“This budget makes an important down payment on repairing our aging transportation network, upgrading public transportation and investing in walkable, sustainable communities,” said Stuart Cohen, Executive Director of TransForm and a member of Secretary Kelly’s California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities workgroup.
The proposal achieves this $1.7 billion increase for transportation from a combination of early repayment of General Fund Loans, additional Prop 1B funds, and the introduction of cap-and-trade auction proceeds. The vast majority of this additional funding would be invested in expanding public transit systems, modernizing passenger rail, supporting regional efforts to meet SB 375, and maintaining and rehabilitating the states roads and bridges.
The largest portion of this increase, $1.1 billion, is from Prop 1B, that is projected to run out soon. Yet the $600 million from cap-and-trade auction proceeds have the chance to grow tremendously in the next fiscal year, when fuel processors get added to the list of industries that must obtain permits to emit greenhouse gas pollution
“We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to ensure that this funding is focused on climate goals, helping our most disadvantage communities, providing access to jobs, and most importantly, becomes a long-term commitment,” said Cohen. “We need additional investments to increase transit service, make it safer to walk and bike, and provide affordable homes near transit if California can be a world leader in meeting climate goals, create opportunity for all Californians and overcome growing inequality that threatens our economic growth.”
The proposal also looks to keep the High Speed Rail program alive with an infusion of $250 million for construction of the first segment, between Merced and the San Fernando Valley.
----- END ---