Reaffirming their pledge to put California Jobs First, Assembly Republicans announced a proposal to invest in local transportation infrastructure projects and create up to 108,000 new jobs statewide.
“Californians are fed up with the broken promises of high-speed rail and they should have the final say on its future,” said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare. “Our proposal would ask the people to decide whether high-speed rail dollars should be used to build or repair roads, highways, bridges and ports, and create 108,000 jobs from Red Bluff to San Diego – or whether we should continue to throw money at the ‘Little Engine That Could.’”
The Assembly Republican plan would dedicate $11 billion in one-time funds and $2.4 billion annually for statewide transportation infrastructure projects. It is estimated that the GOP plan would create up to 108,000 jobs statewide and grow the economy by $140 billion.
In a 2011 report, the California Transportation Commission highlighted $295 billion in unmet transportation infrastructure needs throughout the state, including $9.7 billion in the Central Valley.
The Assembly Republican proposal would generate both short- and long-term funding to jumpstart these hundreds of backlogged projects across the state and create local jobs in these communities.
“For too long, Sacramento has underfunded California’s vital transportation infrastructure needs, resulting in millions of drivers stuck in traffic jams instead of spending quality time with their families,” said Assembly Transportation Committee Vice Chair Eric Linder, R-Corona. “By investing in local transportation projects, we can boost the economy, create jobs throughout the state, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality.”
Specifically, it would repay $2.5 billion in transportation dollars seized by the state during tough budget times (one-time funds). It would also end budget gimmicks by dedicating gas tax dollars to state and local transportation projects ($2.4 billion in ongoing, annual funds).
Assembly Republicans also want to ask voters to revote on the high-speed rail bond and rededicate $8.5 billion to state and local transportation projects (one-time funds). When the high-speed rail bond passed, voters were falsely promised that taxpayers would only be responsible for one-third of the project costs. Yet costs continue to skyrocket past original estimates and promises of funding from private investors and the federal government are uncertain at best. GOP lawmakers said that it’s time to go to the people again to see if these dollars are better spent on other transportation infrastructure needs.