Impact of November 2010 Elections

First, the good news:

Californians strongly rejected Proposition 23!

This shows the public really does want to tackle climate change and gives a surge of momentum for implementation of SB 375, which seeks to reduce emissions through smarter land use and more sustainable transportation choices.

Robert Raburn unseated incumbent Carole Ward Allen on the BART Board of Directors with an eleven point margin.

Ward Allen was the primary champion of the Oakland Airport Connector, a boondoggle that puts core BART service at risk, while Raburn has been an outspoken critic of the project.  With just 35% of the vote for Ward Allen, it’s clear that voters care a lot more about BART’s core system than a slow, $500 million tram to the airport.

Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, proven champions of smart growth and transportation choices, both won.

As Attorney General, Brown pushed regions to address climate change in their transportation planning and general plans.  Boxer has increasingly fought for sustainable transportation choices over the years and will continue to lead the powerful Environment and Public Works Committee.  She’ll be at the helm of writing the new federal transportation bill and critical in battling for a bill that breaks from the past and seriously invests in public transportation, smart growth, and repairing our aging roads and bridges.

Then the bad (and it’s really bad):

Proposition 26 passed.   

Proposition 26 amends California’s Constitution so that regulatory fees require approval by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature as well as 2/3 if the fee is put before voters – and it’s retroactive to January 1, 2010.

This could devastate transportation funding (as well as billions for education, public safety, health care and environmental protection).  It will now be extremely difficult for cities, counties, and the state to raise the additional funds needed to adequately maintain streets and bridges and keep trains and buses running, let alone expand the transit system.

Proposition 26 could potentially be used to invalidate some or all of the vehicle registration fees to fund transportation improvements that were passed in five Bay Area counties (Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara).  Proposition 26 also could invalidate the sole source of public transportation funding in this year’s state budget. 

As the legal issues surrounding Proposition 26 are resolved, we’ll be working even harder to find ways to increase and protect state funding for public transportation, including championing efforts to find new sources of transit funding. 

Read more in-depth analysis of the election, including the latest on what Proposition 26 and 22 really mean for our state.