Special Session Bills to Fix California's Crumbling Infrastructure Heard

Senator Huff measure held in committee; two other Republican proposals pass
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Serious discussion began on how to fix California’s crumbling infrastructure today during a Legislative Special Session on Transportation that included hearing Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff’s (R-San Dimas) Senate Constitutional Amendment 1X 1 that asks voters to protect transportation taxes by requiring that revenue to be used solely for transportation purposes.

The measure offered by Senator Huff was one of several offered by Republicans that were heard by the committee. While Huff’s SCA 1X 1 was not voted on, two other bills authored by Republicans did win support from the Committee during the hearing.

Senate Bill 1X 12, authored by Sen. Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) brings more accountability and transparency to the process by making the California Transportation Commission an independent entity and giving it the power to approve individual repair and maintenance projects to make sure Caltrans is actually putting its resources into top priority projects while also achieving its efficiency goals.

Senate Bill 1X 13 by Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) creates a Transportation Inspector General to examine Caltrans and the High-Speed Rail Authority for fraud and waste, efficiency opportunities, best practices, and opportunities to improve the data used for projecting resource allocations. The Transportation Inspector General would be responsible for investigating and reporting back to the Legislature any instances of fraud, waste and abuse, giving the Legislature the tools it needs to hold Caltrans accountable and ensure that every transportation dollar is spent efficiently and appropriately.

“I’m glad to see that some of our ideas are taking hold in the Legislature,” said Sen. Huff on the approval of the bills by Sen. Runner and Sen. Vidak. “These reform measures are necessary in rebuilding the trust with Californians that expect greater accountability, transparency, efficiencies and rooting out potential fraud, waste and abuse at Caltrans.”

Ultimately, Sen. Huff hopes the voters will get a chance to weigh in on the issue.

“The position of Republicans going into this Special Session has been clear – we must stop the diversion of transportation dollars away from transportation projects,” Sen. Huff said. “I’m hopeful that we can ultimately reach an agreement with the majority party and pass SCA 1X 1 that will allow the voters the opportunity to close this loophole that siphons crucial dollars away from fixing our highways and roads to unrelated pet projects.”