Like California, majority of states are raising taxes to fix roads

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After California’s Legislature passed Senate Bill 1, The Road Repair and Accountability Act, four other states passed funding plans dedicated to improving transportation: Indiana, Montana, Tennessee and South Carolina.

California and these four states are the latest to join a national trend in which states are acting directly to improve neighborhood streets, state highways and bridges, and public transit systems through the investment of transportation taxes and user fees. Since 2013, 26 states with a combined population of 170 million Americans have passed fuel taxes, vehicle fees, or other transportation-related fees to fix roads and bridges.

States are acting because the federal government is not — the federal gas tax has remained static for nearly 25 years. In the meantime, roads, bridges, and transit systems around the country are aging, falling into disrepair, and falling short of modern design standards.

Like measures passed in 25 other states, California’s Road Repair and Accountability Act is premised on the common-sense approach of dedicating transportation user fees to transportation purposes.

SB 1 invests $54 billion over the next decade to fix roads, freeways and bridges across California and puts more dollars toward transit and safety — and the Golden State is already putting this investment to work.

By the end of October, Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) will have advanced more than $5 billion in “fix-it-first” projects for earlier completion because of SB 1 funding. Caltrans is accelerating the delivery of 60 bridge projects along trade corridors in Northern, Central and Southern California. Cities and counties are lining up hundreds of neighborhood street projects they will be investing SB 1 funds into to improve their communities.

By spring of 2018, the CTC and the California State Transportation Agency will announce grants for competitive programs that will fund improvements to California’s trade corridors, to the state’s most congested regional corridors and to new, transformative public transit projects.

These investments will also keep Californians working. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, every $1 billion in highway and transit investments supports about 13,000 jobs per year. SB 1 proposes to invest more than $5 billion per year in transit, highway, bridge and road improvements. This sustained investment over the course of the next decade will support hundreds of thousands of jobs in California.

Learn more about CA’s SB 1 projects, and their progress toward completion, at rebuildingca.ca.gov.

Source: Sacramento Bee

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