Cites failure to ensure reliable transit & ineffective use of funds
I want to thank Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Sen. Jim Beall and Gov. Jerry Brown for their hard work in addressing the problem of crumbling roads and aging transportation systems.
My constituents are particularly dependent on good roads and highways and reliable transit systems, so I agree we need additional transportation investments.
But this transportation package did not have the support of my district, for good reasons. Even after a multi-million dollar lobbying effort supporting the $52 billion bill, sentiment in my district ran two-to-one opposing these new gas taxes and car registration fees.
My constituents have told me loud and clear that they want any new taxes to be spent more wisely and effectively. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to spend billions of dollars on an unpopular High Speed Rail system that backers claim might be completed by 2029 when it could go for transportation improvements today.
Beyond the issues of setting better spending priorities and taxes, I also believed this bill could have been improved. We need to be more forward thinking, where we recognize the role technology can play in allowing us to use our roads and highways more efficiently.
And we need a plan that provides commuters with the confidence and assurance that reliable transit will be there for them every day of the year.
This bill also failed to ensure that any new transportation funding given to local transportation agencies be used only for the purposes intended and not diverted to other uses.
I was also concerned about last-minute amendments to this bill that the environmental community and air quality regulators say will unwisely limit our ability to control diesel pollution from trucks. These changes have never been fully vetted and deserve more scrutiny.
I look forward to continued discussions with the governor in which we take into account the need to modernize our approach to transportation in an efficient and reliable manner.