Bay Area motorists dodging potholes and fighting traffic can loosen their grip on the wheel after an historic vote in the legislature last night (April 6) that will generate $52 billion over 10 years to fix roads and highways statewide, ease congestion and improve transit. The win culminates a more than decades-long effort by the Council and many others to address a backlog of transportation work that has made California’s roads and highways among the worst in the nation. The Bay Area Council extends its hearty thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown, State Senate President Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for their courageous leadership in winning passage of SB 1 and to bill author state Sen. Jim Beall of San Jose and Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier (Oakley), who authored a companion bill in the Assembly, for their tireless efforts in guiding the legislation to victory.
The Council also extends its gratitude to all the Bay Area legislators who cast their vote in favor of making long overdue investments to fix California’s badly deteriorated roads and highways, including Senators Bill Dodd, Jerry Hill, Mike McGuire, Bill Monning, Nancy Skinner, Bob Wieckowski, Scott Wiener and Assemblymembers Marc Levine, Marc Berman, Cecilia Aguilar Curry, Rob Bonta, David Chiu, Kansen Chu, Tim Grayson, Ash Kalra, Evan Low, Kevin Mullin, Bill Quirk, Mark Stone, Tony Thurmond and Phil Ting. The Council also gives special thanks to Ceres Senator Anthony Cannella, who bravely crossed party lines to provide the votes needed in the Senate. We also want to thank our many member companies that signed letters, made calls and sent emails to legislators urging them to support SB 1.
The Council, as part of a statewide advocacy coalition led by the California Alliance for Jobs, worked feverishly into the night on Thursday (April 1) to help secure the two-thirds votes needed to pass the funding package, which includes a mix of fuel and vehicle taxes and fees. Improving the commute has been among the Council’s top policy priorities for years, and the win Thursday follows through on a pledge by the Executive Committee in early December to “double down” in our efforts to address California’s massive transportation needs, which have been estimated in excess of $136 billion. The funding has immense implications for the future of Bay Area transportation and mobility. With new funding to address the region’s long-standing maintenance needs, the Bay Area can now turn greater attention to growing the future capacity of the region’s transportation system, including extending BART and other rail lines, expanding regional ferry service and building out express lanes.
For the Bay Area, the funding package includes $284 million annually to repair local streets and roads, $135 million to improve local transit and $36 million for a variety of other major county transportation projects. As part of the negotiations for SB 1, Sen. Cannella secured more than $400 million in additional funding through the budget to improve the Altamont Corridor Express rail service that is a critical part of the Council’s work to build transportation capacity for the broader Bay Area megaregion. Under SB 1, the Bay Area is also eligible to compete for a share of $2.5 billion to address congestion on key transportation corridors, and the Council will be working hard to secure that funding. The Council will also be focused on enforcing strict accountability measures designed to ensure the funding is spent efficiently and responsibly.