San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Steve Greenhut outlines transportation bills introduced by Senate Republicans. The package of bills includes reform measures that would speed up transportation funding and improve efficiency at the massively overstaffed Caltrans before any discussions about tax increases are considered.
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Roads: State spends more, gets less
Special session sparks fight between tax hikes and Caltrans reform
(The San Diego Union-Tribune)
SACRAMENTO — When the Legislature returns from its break on Aug. 17, the focus will turn to transportation funding. Virtually everyone — Democrats, Republicans, labor unions, taxpayer groups and the business community — agree California’s roads are a mess and need substantial investments to keep drivers and the economy moving.
Beyond that, the debate devolves into ideological differences.
Democratic leaders are setting the stage for tax and fee increases to fund needed improvements. The entire transportation special session is, arguably, a ploy to find revenue. The state passed a budget on time, but neglected to adequately fund this key area — relegating it to a session that revolves around “revenue enhancements.” Democrats also are focused on prodding Californians out of their cars through the bullet train and “transit-oriented development.”
By contrast, Republicans are pushing a variety of reform-oriented measures designed to speed up transportation funding and root out inefficiencies in the California Department of Transportation.
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