Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters takes a look at California’s transportation crisis, the solutions offered by the Fix Our Roads coalition and why it is important to engage with Senate Republicans in order to fix California’s crumbling roads.
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Road taxes must clear GOP’s bar
(The Sacramento Bee)
SACRAMENTO - Special legislative sessions aren’t bound by the time limits of regular sessions, so one on financing road maintenance could run another 15-plus months.
It may take that long to iron out the issue’s many political wrinkles – if they can be.
The biggest, but by no means only, one is that imposing new gasoline or other taxes would require votes from at least a few Republican legislators, and that’s almost impossible.
But Republicans are not willing – yet. They’ve proposed, fundamentally, using surplus general revenues, plus some of the “cap-and-trade” fees on fuel and some belt-tightening in the Department of Transportation to finance needed maintenance.
Enjoying some rare leverage, thanks to the two-thirds vote requirement for taxes, Republicans’ laundry list includes laying off excess Caltrans staff and cutting environmental red tape for transportation projects.
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