Are you tired of sitting in congested traffic for hours, running in potholes in the street, or dealing with BART and Muni rail problems?
Well, there’s both good and bad news for you. The good news is that in 2017, the state legislature signed SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, by a two-thirds vote.
SB 1 generates $5.2 billion a year to fund transportation improvements around the state for projects like repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, bicycle and pedestrian projects, transit and intercity trail capital projects, increasing capacity in highly congested corridors, and more.
The bill addresses the $137 billion backlog of maintenance for transportation infrastructure by adjusting the gas tax. The last time the legislature adjusted the gas tax was back in 1994, and hasn’t it hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since then. SB 1 fixed that.
The bad news is that anti-tax groups have banded together to take us back to the old, broken system of transportation funding by introducing a statewide ballot initiative, Proposition 6. This would reverse SB 1 and eliminate more than 6,500 local bridge and road safety and transportation improvement projects across California. 1,302 of those projects are in the Bay Area.
Sarah Fine, a Local 21 member and Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Oakland, has this to say about Prop 6: “I currently manage Oakland’s paving program. Last year, Senate Bill 1 adjusted the gas tax, which hadn’t been adjusted in decades. Due to inflation, this meant cities like Oakland were getting fewer dollars every year for important street maintenance, like paving our streets! Thanks to SB 1, we can now count on $7 million a year for paving in Oakland. This is money from the state that comes directly to Oakland—no applying for grants, no competing with other budget priorities.”
“When funding is stable, we can invest in workers: with SB1 money, we’re adding more paving crews so we can rely less on contractors, and get better prices for the work. The steady funding also means we can plan further ahead—increasing the output of paved miles in Oakland for many years to come. All of this is in jeopardy if Prop 6 passes. We’ve struggled for years to catch up on our paving backlog in Oakland. Passing Prop 6 will revert us back to 1980s levels of funding—and the potholes will prove it.”
SB 1 doesn’t just provide funding for Oakland; over the span of ten years, over $3.7 billion would go into Bay Area transportation infrastructure projects. Here are some examples of current projects that will lose funding if Proposition 6 passes:
- Repair 26 bridges on SR 24 and I-80, I-580, I-880 and I-980 in Alameda County
- Repair 4 bridges on US 101 in San Francisco County
- Repair 32 bridges on US 101 and State Routes 9, 17, 82, 85, 87 and 152 in Santa Clara County
Filling potholes and repaving roads:
- Repave 104 miles on 1-880 in Alameda County
- 30 miles of pavement improvements on SR 87 in San Jose
- 22 miles on pavement improvements on I-80 from SR 4 to the Carquinez Bridge in Contra Costa County
- 272 new BART rail vehicles, increase train frequency to 30 trains per hour through the Transbay tunnel, allows for over 200,000 new daily BART riders
- BART extension into downtown San Jose and out to Santa Clara, creating 4 new stations
- 8 zero-emissions vehicles for Muni light rail system for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)
Many Local 21 members work on projects that Prop. 6 would eliminate. Prop. 6 will hurt our ability to provide the communities we serve with high quality, public services. Local 21 is recommending a NO vote on Prop 6.
For a full list of political endorsements and stances from Local 21, click here, and don’t forget to vote on November 6!