The November statewide ballot in California has two
initiatives on it that would affect transportation funding. Several counties in
the state also will decide on transportation-related efforts.
Propositions 1A and 1B were placed on the statewide ballot
by the California Legislature.
According to the legislative analyst's summary of
Proposition 1A, it would not have any revenue or cost effect. The initiative
proposes to authorize further protections to ensure that state fuel taxes are
spent on transportation.
In 2002, California voters overwhelmingly approved
Proposition 42 requiring fuel pump sales tax revenues to be used solely for
transportation. However, that law allows the governor and state lawmakers to
divert the money in the case of a fiscal emergency.
Next month's ballot initiative would limit the number of
times lawmakers could dip into those revenues for the state budget and require
them to repay the money within a few years.
Proposition 1B, unlike 1A, would cost the state about $20
billion during the next 30 years. In return, revenue would be earmarked
throughout the state for traffic mitigation, road repairs, safety improvements,
ports, airports and rail.
Traffic mitigation work would get $11.25 billion. Public
transportation would receive $4 billion, goods movement and air quality would
receive $3.2 billion and safety and security improvements would receive nearly $1.5
Ballot questions in several counties also will focus on
Voters in Fresno County will decide whether to extend a
half-cent sales tax for transportation set to expire in 2007. Measure C would
raise $1.7 billion through 2027.
A similar question will be asked to voters in Orange County. Measure C would extend by 30 years a half-cent retail transaction and use
tax. The tax is set to expire in 2011. If extended, an estimated $11.8 billion
would be generated for transportation improvements and traffic congestion
relief in the county.
Voters in Kern and Santa Barbara counties will decide
whether to authorize tax increases to benefit transportation work.
In Kern County, passage of Measure I would allow a half-cent
sales tax increase over 20 years. It would generate an estimated $1 billion
during that time to relieve congestion, improve traffic safety, and match
federal and state transportation funding.
The ballot in Santa Barbara County will include a question
of whether to authorize a 30-year, quarter-cent sales tax increase. Measure D
would fund an estimated $1.6 billion during that time for traffic congestion
relief that would include increased bus service and a commuter rail line
connecting Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Early voting in California started Saturday, Oct. 21.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Polls will be open from 11 a.m. PST to 8 p.m.
PST on Election Day.
- Keith Goble, state legislative editor