Putting California Jobs First
Republican Job Creation Package
February 6, 2014
Assembly Republicans Introduce Plan to Create 108,000 Jobs, Invest in California Roads, Highways, Bridges and Ports
Proposal Calls for Revote on High-Speed Rail, Dedicating Gas Taxes to Transportation Infrastructure
SACRAMENTO – Reaffirming their commitment to putting California Jobs First, Assembly Republicans today announced a proposal to invest in local transportation infrastructure projects and create up to 108,000 new jobs statewide.
“Californians are fed up with the broken promises of high-speed rail and they should have the final say on its future,” said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare. “Our proposal would ask the people to decide whether high-speed rail dollars should be used to build or repair roads, highways, bridges and ports and create 108,000 jobs from Red Bluff to San Diego – or whether we should continue to throw money at the ‘Little Engine That Could.’”
The Assembly Republican plan would dedicate $11 billion in one-time funds and $2.4 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.
$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.
The Assembly Republican 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.
“For too long, Sacramento has underfunded California’s vital transportation infrastructure needs, resulting in millions of drivers stuck in traffic jams instead of spending quality time with their families,” said Assembly Transportation Committee Vice Chair Eric Linder, R-Corona. “By investing in local transportation projects, we can boost the economy, create jobs throughout the state, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality.”
Specifically, it would repay $2.5 billion in transportation dollars seized by the state during tough budget times (one-time funds). It would also end budget gimmicks by dedicating gas tax dollars to state and local transportation projects ($2.4 billion in ongoing, annual funds).
Assembly Republicans also want to ask voters to 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. GOP lawmakers said that it’s time to go to the people again to see if these dollars are better spent on other transportation infrastructure needs.
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.