December 15, 2017
SACRAMENTO – PolitiFact evaluated statements made by GOP candidate for Governor, Assemblyman Travis Allen, and other Republican opponents about newly enacted transportation revenues from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1). The opponents claim that no funding in SB 1 is available for building new lanes or easing traffic congestion.
After thorough review, PolitiFact found those claims “mostly false” and have “a freeway full of problems.”
Republican Gubernatorial candidates Travis Allen and John Cox, as well as other Republican politicians, are promoting ballot measures to repeal the new transportation funding law.
Below are excerpts. You can read the full PolitiFact overview here:
- “The bulk of the new tax money, 65 percent, goes to repair projects. But 35 percent can be spent on “expanded capacity,” including highway and transit improvements, according to Mark Dinger, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation.”
- “The biggest pot of money for those projects is the $250 million that will be available each year to improve congested corridors across the state. Dinger said that money can be used to make freeways more efficient by improving ramp meters and adding real-time electronic message boards showing precise travel times. Efficiency measures alone, he said, can improve traffic flow by 25 percent.”
- “Dinger said the money can also pay for new freeway lanes, though he estimated those projects would not start until 2019 or 2020. State and regional agencies would need to submit applications for the money.”
- “…the measure does allow for spending on new carpool and toll lanes, plus auxiliary lanes which can ease the flow of traffic at backed up freeway interchanges.”
- “…it allows funding for freeway carpool and toll lanes along with efficiency projects that can ease up bottlenecks. Additionally, the measure sets aside $100 million annually for the expansion of local roads.”
- “The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found the tax measure also pays for new local roads. “The funding package includes about $1.8 billion annually specifically for local streets and roads,” the LAO reported in June 2017. It specified that about $100 million annually would be set aside for “capacity expansion,” primarily on local roads and streets, though some could be used for transit projects.”
- “Allen’s claim… has a freeway full of problems.”
- “We rate it Mostly False.”
Background on SB 1:
SB 1, passed in April by the state Legislature, provides more than $5 billion annually in new funding to make road safety improvements, fill potholes, and repair local streets, freeways, bridges and overpasses. The new SB 1 funding will not be bogged down in bureaucratic red tape. A special auditor will be appointed to ensure SB 1 funding is going where it’s supposed to. SB 1 includes provisions to expedite projects and reduce inefficiencies and waste. SB 1 also includes a provision to repay funds that were diverted from transportation during the recession.
Most important, voters will be asked to vote in June 2018 to solidify new revenues protections into
our state constitution to ensure this new funding is spent on transportation projects only.
Why SB 1 is needed:
Bad roads cost drivers every year. Today, California drivers are paying an additional $762 per year in
vehicle maintenance costs resulting from driving on crumbling roads. There is a backlog of $130 billion
in needed road repairs, $59 billion for state highways; and $73 billion for local streets and roads.