While voters in California overwhelmingly approved a second
term for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governor's suite, they also approved two
initiatives that affect transportation funding throughout the state. Several
counties in the state also decided on transportation-related efforts.
The statewide ballot proposal to authorize further
protections to ensure state fuel taxes are spent on road and other
transportation projects was ahead with a whopping 77 percent in support and 22
percent of voters opposed.
In 2002, California voters 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 "severe state fiscal hardship."
This year's effort, Proposition 1A, limits the frequency
that lawmakers can dip into those revenues for the state budget and require
them to repay the money within a few years.
Opponents had argued that the ballot effort could deprive
public schools of some funding.
Proposition 1A does not have any revenue or cost effect to
A plan to use bonds for transportation projects throughout
the state was ahead 61 percent to 39 percent.
The transportation bond, Proposition 1B, has a price tag for
the state of about $20 billion during the next 30 years. In return, revenue
will be earmarked throughout the state for traffic mitigation, road repairs,
safety improvements, ports, airports and rail.
Traffic mitigation work is slated to get $11.25 billion.
Public transportation will receive $4 billion, goods movement and air quality
will receive $3.2 billion and safety and security improvements will receive
nearly $1.5 billion.
Ballot questions in several counties also focused on
Voters in Fresno County overwhelmingly supported extending a
half-cent sales tax for transportation set to expire in 2007. Seventy-seven
percent of voters approved Measure C. It is expected to raise $1.7 billion for
roadwork and bus service through 2027.
A similar question was narrowly approved by voters in Orange County. Measure C extends by 30 years a half-cent retail transaction and use tax.
The tax was set to expire in 2011. It is estimated that $11.8 billion will be
generated for transportation improvements and traffic congestion relief in the
county. The tax extension required two-thirds support for passage. It received
Voters in Kern, Madera and Santa Barbara counties decided
whether to authorize tax increases to benefit transportation work.
In Kern County, support was not strong enough to pass a
measure that would've allowed a half-cent sales tax increase over 20 years.
Measure I received 56 percent of the vote in favor but 66 percent was required
for passage. It would've generated an estimated $1 billion during the next two
decades to relieve congestion, improve traffic safety, and match federal and
state transportation funding.
Madera County voters approved a 20-year, half-cent road tax
that will spend $213 million to improve major thoroughfares. Measure T passed
with nearly three-quarters of voters' support. It needed two-thirds approval to
The ballot in Santa Barbara County included a question of
whether to authorize a 30-year, quarter-cent sales tax increase. Measure D
called for 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. The effort failed passage despite
receiving 54 percent of the vote. It needed a two-thirds majority for passage.
- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor