Starting in the 1950’s, California legislators embarked on a successful effort to build a world-class transportation infrastructure network. Their objective was to address fast-accelerating population growth, and to support our booming business and industrial economy.
But for too many years, we failed to make the investments needed to maintain the state’s vital roads and highways. And all too often, the Legislature would dip into highway accounts to fund state budget shortfalls.
In 2006, voters approved Proposition 1B which authorized a $20 billion investment to repair aging infrastructure, support expanded goods movement, and increase highway safety.
Prop. 1B not only improved the state’s transportation network, it kept many California-based contractors active and thousands of construction workers employed.
But now Prop. 1B is winding down. It was never designed in the first place to provide ongoing funding to maintain more than 50,000 miles of state highways, and 143,000 miles of local streets and roads.
It is eminently clear that California must develop a new revenue stream that will help cover the cost of maintaining our existing highway system. The transportation community has put forward two proposals to help generate revenue in the short term.