JIM WUNDERMAN JOINS GOV. BROWN, SPEAKER ATKINS IN CALLING FOR CA ROAD FUNDING
The Bay Area Council this week (Aug. 19) weighed in on the Legislature’s Special Session to address California’s massive road repair problem. It is estimated that state-run roads, bridges and highways face a backlog of almost $60 billion in repairs. Gov. Jerry Brown called the Special Session to identify $6 billion in funding annually over the next 10 years to meet the need. On Wednesday (Aug. 19), Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman joined Gov. Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and a cadre of business, transportation and labor leaders at the Port of Oakland for a press conference to highlight the importance of reaching an agreement to invest in the state’s critical transportation and goods movement system.
The Council’s Executive Committee recently approved supporting a combination of revenue methods that the Legislature is considering for meeting the Governor’s $6 billion annual goal and bringing California’s roads back into a state of good repair. Among those methods was a new idea to reauthorize the sales tax portion of Proposition 30, which voters approved in 2012 and is due to expire next year. Extending the sales tax would generate $1.5 billion annually.
In remarks later Wednesday during a roundtable forum convened as part of the Legislature’s Special Session on Transportation and Infrastructure Development, Wunderman emphasized that the Council would support reauthorizing the Prop. 30 sales tax only if there is iron-clad assurance that the money would be used exclusively for transportation. He also outlined a series of other recommendations for injecting more efficiency into how California undertakes transportation projects. Wunderman emphasized that California’s deteriorating transportation system has become a strategic business issue and a threat to the state economic competitiveness.