GOOD WEEK FOR HIGHLIGHTING DIRE TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
It was a good week for transportation investment, a topic near and dear to our hearts – it’s one of the Bay Area Council’s lead policy priorities — but not one that regularly incites roaring excitement among the masses. On the federal level, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited the Bay Area on Tuesday to highlight President Obama’s “Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices.” The report, which describes the dismal condition of the nation’s transportation infrastructure and the dire implications for our future economic competitiveness, is intended to spark a national discussion and solicit ideas for how we can make traffic gridlock a thing of the past. Bay Area Council President Jim Wunderman and other business and transportation leaders joined Sec. Foxx on Monday at a briefing and discussion hosted by Council member Google and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
And then on Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins announced a proposal to raise $10 billion for transportation infrastructure that would largely come from a new user fee on motorists. A 2014 report estimated the statewide infrastructure need in the billions of dollars annually, not including $59 billion worth of deferred maintenance work. The Council has long supported user fees to pay for transportation infrastructure and we look forward to working with Speaker Atkins to help shape how such a user fee could be passed and implemented. To engage in our transportation policy work, contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.