3/4/2010: TransForm Comments on State Legislature's Gas Tax Swap

PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT Carli Paine OR Stuart Cohen

Sacramento, CA - Today, the California State Legislature adopted two major bills that would restructure the state's transportation financing. AB x8 6 would swap existing sales tax on gasoline for an excise tax and replace the existing excise tax on diesel fuel with a sales tax. AB x8 9 identifies how the revenues from these funds are to be spent. The adopted bills stripped out authority for regions to adopt new local transportation revenue sources with voter approval.

Following are statements from Carli Paine, TransForm's Transportation Program Director:

"We are disappointed with the package, but understand that it represents the best package that legislators were able to develop given the state budget crisis. Together, the bills strip public transportation of potentially billions of dollars of funding that advocates have been fighting to protect, and replace them with limited funding that remains vulnerable to raids. This proposal will result in an annual budget battle to ensure that the funding dedicated to public transit actually gets allocated to our buses, trains, and ferries.

"It is imperative that the State give local agencies the ability to raise new revenues with voter approval. Authority to allow this was a silver lining in an earlier version of this proposal, but has been stripped out. TransForm encourages legislators to fight to give regions the ability to help themselves since the State is clearly not able to provide the extent of support that's needed to keep our buses and trains running and affordable.

"Funding transit isn't just about getting people around; it's a necessary ingredient to energy security, economic vitality, and quality of life."