New Transportation Committee Meets Today to Consider Legislation

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sacramento -- The California State Senate held the first hearing in the Special Session on Transportation this morning. The newly-created Transportation Committee will be chaired by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), and Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) will serve as vice chair.

Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee Senator Cannella issued the following statement:

“We need to get transportation money back to transportation projects. We have one billion dollars a year in weight fees that are being diverted to pay off debt. I know that is transportation debt. However, we also have a lot of general obligation bonds that are being paid by the general funds. So before we ask Californians to pay more taxes, we should get all of that revenue that is currently being paid to go back to take care of our streets, roads, and highways.”

Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) issued the following statement:

“Since 2010, the State Legislature has diverted five billion dollars of transportation funds that should have been used to fix our roads into other areas of the state budget. This diversion must stop now. In response, Senate Republicans have introduced three key bills for the special session that would guarantee keeping transportation dollars for transportation projects.”

THREE KEY BILLS:

SCA X1 1 (Huff) would constitutionally guarantee that the billions in transportation taxes already paid by California drivers are used only for transportation purposes—to fix highways and other transportation related projects.

SB X1 2 (Huff) would dedicate cap-and-trade taxes paid from putting gasoline production under Greenhouse Gas Emissions cap to improving California’s streets, roads, and highways.

SB X1 3 (Vidak) would allow Californians to vote on whether they want to continue funding the High Speed Rail project, which is already estimated to cost $100 billion to complete, or redirect any money currently designated for High Speed Rail to repair or construct state highways, streets, and roads.

BACKGROUND ON EXTRAORDINARY SPECIAL SESSION:

Special Session committees will operate under different rules than Standing Committees. Bills will not need to be in print 30 days before they can be heard. Bills also will be exempt from the notice requirements that Standing Committees must follow – which will give legislators and the public less time to review each bill.

Legislation that is approved with only a majority vote will take effect 91 days after adjournment of the Special Session unless they are urgency measures, which take effect immediately after the governor signs them. Tax measures will still require a two-thirds vote. Bills will go through the Special Session Transportation Committee, but will then go to the Standing Appropriations for fiscal review.

For press inquiries or questions, please contact Jacqui Nguyen, Press Secretary for the Senate Republican Caucus at (916) 651-4029.