State Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and others continue to advocate against the destructiveness of a potential SB1 repeal which is forthcoming in November.
While it is no secret California’s crumbling infrastructure needs repair, constituents of the Golden State are grappling with how to pay for it. Passed it late April of 2017, the state legislature created a solution the problem in the form of SB1 or more specifically, the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program. The program addresses California’s vast roadway system by establishing a gas tax – $0.12-$0.20 depending on fuel choice –, a license fee varying between $25 and $175 based on vehicle and a new $100 annual vehicle registration fee applicable to zero-emission vehicles.
Now a year later, Proposition 6 has proved to be one of the talked about and most contentious ballot initiatives listed for November. Estimated to eliminate nearly $5 billion from the state budget, Proposition 6 would repeal all taxes and fees associated with current SB1 regulations. It would cancel funding for future rail projects and surely impact the states freight industry. Furthermore, Prop 6 would require voter approval for future fuel tax or vehicle fee increases.
Ever since he voted “aye” to SB1 last year, Calderon has led in the fight against Prop 6 tweeting today “I was there when we passed SB1 to fix our roads, it wasn’t about politics… Reps are using Prop 6 for their own politics, not for what’s right.” SB1 passed with a 54-26 vote.
This is an important article about the destructive intent of Prop 6. I was there when we passed SB1 to fix our roads. It wasnt about politics. It was about doing what we all knew we had to. Reps are using Prop 6 for their own politics, not for what’s right https://t.co/YA789sMJZ8
— Ian C. Calderon (@IanCalderon) September 26, 2018
Making voters pay more at the pump is a tough political sell. However, Democrats are defending their stance stating it’s worth it in the long run. LA Times voiced their opinion last week stating, “Sure you might save $1.50 every time you fill up your sedan. But you’ll spend a lot more repairing tires, alignment, shocks and other parts caused by driving on potholed and damaged roads.”
Despite the strong support by some media and most Democrats, not everyone is so keen to keep the train running. Perhaps the most influential and outspoken critic of current standards is California Gubernatorial candidate John Cox. Campaigning on big issues such as Prop 6 and the current DMV fiasco, Cox has stated “The Democrats decided to do the easy thing in their view, and that is just keep sticking their hands in the pockets of Californians… instead of doing the hard work, which would have been standing up to the donors, standing up to the special interests, and using our money effectively and wisely.”
While infrastructure isn’t cheap, it looks as if managing the money gathered by pump-payers is what needs to be done more efficiently. According to the LA Times, in the article mentioned previously, they disavow Prop 6 proponents by referencing a Legislative Analyst Office study where two-thirds of new revenue is dedicated to highways and road repairs with the other portion going toward other focuses such as public transit.
Although this is true, other statistics show how that money is being mismanaged. According to additional findings, the state government spends more than $471,000 per mile of road that it maintains. That’s nearly triple the national average of about $178,000.
All in all, California voters will have the final say on November 6th.
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