California Jobs First

Putting California Jobs First

Republican Job Creation Package

Assembly Republicans have proposed a "California Jobs First" plan to invest in local transportation infrastructure projects and create up to 108,000 new jobs statewide. 
 
In a 2011 report, the California Transportation Commission highlighted $295 billion in unmet transportation infrastructure needs throughout the state, including:
  • $58.5 billion in unfunded transportation projects in Los Angeles County;
  • $10.8 billion in San Diego County;
  • $9.1 billion in Riverside County;
  • $5.9 billion in Orange County;
  • $9.7 billion in the Central Valley; and
  • $3 billion in the Sacramento region.
Furthermore, an October 2014 report found that the shortfall to fix California’s deteriorating local road network is growing by more than $1 billion annually, and now stands at more than $78 billion. It's clear that the state must address this growing problem in a fiscally responsible way.
 
California Jobs First Plan
 
The California Jobs First 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. It would dedicate $11 billion in one-time funds and $1 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.
 
1) Letting The People Decide the Future of High Speed Rail
 
Assembly Bill 2650 (Conway) would let the voters 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.  AB 2650 would let the people decide if these dollars are better spent on other transportation infrastructure needs.
 
2) Ensuring That Weight Fees Are Used for Highway Maintenance as Promised
 
Assembly Bill 2728 (Perea and Linder) is a bipartisan proposal that would ensure that vehicle weight fees are actually used for highway maintenance projects across the state.  Right now, truckers pay weight fees on their vehicles that are supposed to be used for highway upkeep, but these dollars have instead been used for other purposes. AB 2728 would require that these dollars are actually used to fix our highways, freeing up $900 million each year to help improve our roads. 
 
Assemblyman Linder introduced Assembly Bill 2651 in January.  In April, Assemblyman Perea amended one of his bills with the same proposal.  Recently, they joined forces to pass a bipartisan bill (Assembly Bill 2728) out of the Assembly Transportation Committee.
 
3) Using budget surplus money to immediately pay off existing transportation loans.
 
Assembly Bill 2652 (Linder) will immediately free up halted loan repayments to state transportation funds that can then be used on current, necessary infrastructure needs.  Since 2001, the Legislature has authorized a series of General Fund loans from various key transportation funds.  In March 2002, Proposition 42 was passed to permanently dedicate revenues from the state’s share of the sales tax on gasoline to transportation projects.  However, as state budget shortfalls continued, Proposition 42 transfers were suspended.  Under current law, the majority of these loan repayments would be postponed and repaid in small increments through June 30, 2021
 
4) Direct gas tax funding to maintain and repair local streets and roads.
 
Assembly Bill 2653 (Linder) will restore gas tax dollars for local transportation projects.  Specifically, it would eliminate the backfill of $1 billion in gas excise taxes into the State Highway Account and instead use this revenue for local street and road projects. 
 
Q&A:  Assembly Republican Transportation Infrastructure Plan
 
Q:How much funding will your proposal generate for transportation projects statewide?
 
The Assembly Republican proposal will generate $11 billion in one-time funds, and $2.4 billion annually for local transportation projects.
 
Q:How will it be determined which projects get funded?
 
The California Transportation Commission will determine which state projects get funded, by their normal course of action.  This is the process by which projects were funded in the last infrastructure bond package in 2006.Local transportation projects will be determined by the local transportation authorities.
 
Q:How will you pay for your proposal?
 
The Assembly Republican plan would be paid for in three ways:
 
  • Repaying transportation funds seized by the state during recent tough budget years ($2.5 billion in one-time funds).  The proposal asks for unanticipated funding to be used to pay back transportation funds after education receives its share.
  • Asking the voters to decide whether to rededicate the proceeds of the high-speed rail bond to local transportation projects ($8.5 billion in one-time funds).
  • Dedicating gas tax dollars to fund transportation projects ($2.4 billion annually). 
 
Q: Is this proposal a 2014-15 budget proposal?
 
No, this proposal is phased in over several years.  The transportation loan repayment is paid with unanticipated funds (in the 2012-13 budget there was $2.8 billion in unanticipated funding).  The dedication of gas taxes to transportation infrastructure improvements would begin in 2015-16 and the dedication of vehicle weight fees would begin in 2016-17.  The high-speed rail provisions would have to go back to the voters before money could be expended.  This phased-in approach will allow the Governor and the Legislature to build a budget that puts job creation first without reducing funding for other vital programs.
 
Q:  How many jobs will your proposal create?  How will your proposal benefit the economy?
 
It is estimated that the Assembly Republican proposal will create up to 108,000 California jobs and grow the economy by up to $140 billion.
 
Q:  Californians have already voted on high-speed rail.  Why should they be asked to vote again?
 
The high-speed rail project that voters narrowly approved back in 2008 is not the project that is being carried out today.
 
Back then, voters were promised that they would only have to pay a third of the project’s cost – with the rest coming from the federal government and private investment.  To date, no real private investment has materialized, funding from Washington is questionable at best and the entire project has been threatened by current court decisions.  Project costs have ballooned from an initial estimate of $33 billion to as high as $98.5 billion.
 
It’s clear that the high-speed rail project won’t happen without taxpayers footing the bill for the vast majority of costs.  We believe the voters should be asked to decide whether rebuilding California’s roads, highways, bridges, and ports is a wiser investment than high-speed rail.
 
Q: Won’t this program reduce money available for other programs or reduce funding for a rainy day?
 
This is a strategic investment program. Improving our road and rail system with an eye on job creation will add tax revenue.
 
Q: How does this proposal compare to Proposition 42 which was passed by the voters?
 
Proposition 42 was passed by the voters in 2009 with 69% of the vote and dedicated the sales tax on gasoline to transportation programs.  In hard budget times, the Legislature diverted this funding to the state general fund.  This proposal would restore the original intent of Proposition 42 by dedicating fuel taxes to state and local transportation projects.  One significant change from Proposition 42 is that spillover funding will be directed to local streets and road repair and construction instead of augmenting local transit budgets.  This will result in an additional $1 billion for local streets and roads annually.
 
Q: Does this proposal shortchange transit funding?
 
No.  This proposal maintains transit funding at the level adopted over the last few years.