Defeating Proposition 6 will be our top election priority this November, because cutting off this overdue investment in transportation would undermine everything else we hold dear — transportation equity, improved mobility and safety, safe biking and walking, and climate protection.
Prop 6 is a politically motivated attempt to repeal 2017 increases to the state gas tax and vehicle fee passed by the legislature and signed by the governor as SB 1. It would also require voter approval via ballot proposition to impose, increase, or extend any fuel taxes or vehicle fees in the future.
Though not perfect, SB 1 was a monumental step in the right direction for transportation funding. The 2018 budget put more money into public transportation, walking, and biking than any previous state budget. The state gas tax had not been updated in 23 years, and this increase was absolutely necessary to begin addressing the dangerous decades-long backlog of infrastructure and transportation needs throughout the state.
What is at stake?
According to the California State Transportation Agency, more than 6,500 projects funded by SB 1 are currently underway in every county and community in the state. If Prop 6 passes, most of that work will come to a halt. See a map of all the projects.
Of the $5.6 billion per year in question, about 20% (over $1 billion), is going to public transportation and bike and pedestrian projects. Meanwhile, most of the money that goes to roads — $3.7 billion per year — is fixing existing roads, including “Complete Streets” improvements. This is necessary maintenance (not building new highways) that can also help people who walk, bike, and take transit.
Many of these projects Prop 6 threatens are located in state-designated Disadvantaged Communities, which may be unlikely to see infrastructure investment from other sources if Prop 6 passes. We are in the midst of researching just how much SB 1 funding and how many projects are located in these communities, but preliminary results suggest a very high proportion.
In Fresno County, for example, 84 out of 109 projects are fully (64) or partially (18) located in Disadvantaged Communities. Of those 84 projects, 43 are primarily focused on public transportation, or bicycle/pedestrian improvements. Many of the rest are improvements to local roads.
SB 1 is worth defending
You may remember that after successfully working with allies statewide for over two years to make SB 1 as strong as possible for our communities and the environment, we did not end up supporting the bill in its final form. That’s because a poison pill added to the bill in the eleventh hour threatened some of California’s most vulnerable and impacted communities.
The “dirty trucking loophole” exempts large diesel trucks from vital air pollution regulations; allowing pollution that is already causing asthma, heart disease, and other harms in low-income communities and communities of color to continue unchecked. Prop 6 repeals the gas tax that funds improvements in these communities, but would NOT close this shameful loophole.
Despite the loophole, SB 1 is still doing a lot that is good, funding many important projects. If we work together to stop this repeal effort, we'll be in a great position to continue improving guidelines and making sure Disadvantaged Communities receive a disproportionate benefit to redress decades of disinvestment.
Join us: No on Prop 6
We can’t go backwards to the days of persistent potholes, unsafe roads and bridges, and outdated and infrequent trains and buses.
We also shouldn’t go back on the will of the people and their elected representatives. Two-thirds of the state legislature approved SB 1. And just this June, Californians passed Proposition 69 by more than 80%, protecting SB 1 funding from diversion to non-transportation purposes.
What’s more, we cannot afford to give up legislative control over fuel taxes and vehicle fees. These are crucial levers to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, zero-emissions vehicles, and more sustainable shared transportation modes. Prop 6 would deal a crippling blow to California’s climate action.
Prop 6 threatens thousands of jobs, our economy, every public transit system in the state, cyclists and pedestrians, our climate, and progress towards transportation equity. Join us in voting no, volunteer to defeat Prop 6, and donate to TransForm to power this campaign.