Transit Leaders: Senate Bill 1 About More than Just Road Repair
Criticism of Transportation Infrastructure Package Decried as Short-Sighted
SACRAMENTO – Public transit leaders today responded to recent backlash against Senate Bill 1 (Beall and Frazier), stressing that those criticizing the fact that the bill provides funding for more than just road repair have missed the point of the landmark transportation funding measure.
“SB 1 provides billions of dollars for repair of highways, streets and roads, but it is not simply a road repair bill. It is an investment in the sum total of California’s transportation infrastructure, of which public transit is an integral part,” said Joshua W. Shaw, Executive Director of the California Transit Association. “It is both disingenuous and perilously short-sighted to characterize the measure as over-stepping its bounds by addressing more than just potholes.”
The $5.24 billion/year funding measure generates new revenue from various taxes and fees, and institutes new reform and accountability measures for Caltrans and the other public agencies developing transportation projects and services. The proposal is designed to repair and maintain state highways and local roads, improve trade corridors, and support public transit & active transportation. The funding package also advances a constitutional amendment – ACA 5 (Frazier and Newman) – to dedicate for transportation purposes all vehicle fee and gasoline or diesel tax revenues raised by the bill.
Of that $5-billion-plus annual total, approximately $700 million would be invested in public transit each year through a combination of formula-based allocations and competitive grant programs.
“This bill clearly demonstrates California’s commitment to clean, sustainable transportation, and the role that public transit plays in that vision” said Michael Wiley, Chair of the California Transit Association’s Executive Committee and former General Manager of the Sacramento Regional Transit District. “While California’s transportation infrastructure needs are many, this proposal acknowledges the importance of public transit in achieving the 21st century transportation network that Californians need and deserve.”
“California provides about 1.4 billion transit trips per year, second only to New York among the 50 states,” said Shaw. “Public transit improves communities, stimulates economies and helps protect our environment. It benefits even those who never use it.”
“It is estimated that the state’s population could double to 70 million people in just the next 30 years,” he added. “The multi-modal emphasis of SB 1 acknowledges the simple fact that our mobility needs cannot be met through the business-as-usual approach. We applaud the vision of those who helped make SB 1 a reality, and their acknowledgement that public transit plays an essential role in California’s transportation network.”