Road money diversions target of another proposed amendment

| 2/9/2005

California lawmakers have fired another salvo in their battle to have road money spent on roads.

Currently, a large portion of fuel taxes and other state fees and taxes intended for the Transportation Investment Fund are diverted to other purposes.

A ballot measure approved by nearly 70 percent of the state’s voters in 2002 mandated that California could not divert the funds away from transportation except in an emergency. Proposition 42, as the measure is known, requires a two-thirds vote of the state’s Legislature to move the money elsewhere.

However, despite the amendment, highway money diversions have already totaled $2 billion, according to an analysis by the Keston Institute for Infrastructure at the University of Southern California. And a report in The Sacramento Bee indicated those diversions could include another $1.4 billion in the next year.

Earlier this year, Assemblyman George Plescia, R-La Jolla, introduced ACA4, a

constitutional amendment that was designed to close the loophole in the current law and end the diversions.

Now, Assemblyman Russ Bogh, R-Yucaipa, has introduced ACA9, another proposed constitutional amendment that is also designed to slow or stop the diversions of road money.

ACA9 would change the requirements to move money out of the road fund. Currently, a 2/3 vote in each chamber of the state’s Legislature is needed to divert the money. ACA9 would require a 4/5 vote.

According to the California legislative Web site, ACA9 may be heard by a committee in the Assembly Feb. 24.