Transportation Is Biggest Loser In New California Budget

<p>California's 52-day delayed budget was just signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger and the biggest loser is transportation -- to the tune of $1.3 billion. Public transit agencies will be taking the biggest hit of all.</p>
August 27, 2007, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The final budget sent to the governor relies heavily on diverting transportation funds away from the agencies that are supposed to use those dollars to serve residents," said Joshua Shaw, executive director of the California Transit Association.

"Representatives for Muni - which received the largest cut of almost $18 million - said they would not comment until the budget was formally signed into law.

BART is losing at least $13.78 million, funding that officials have said would be used for infrastructure improvements and earthquake retrofitting for the Transbay Tube.

Half of the $1.3 billion in transit cuts from the budget was money from the State Transportation Improvement Program coffers, collected as tax from the sale of gasoline and earmarked for highway improvements and capital projects.

The other half of the cut are "spillover" funds collected whenever the increase in gasoline prices outpaces the economic growth of the state."

From Contra Costa Times:
"It's quite disappointing that when it came down to reducing the budget, public transit really took the lion's share of cuts," said Carli Paine of the Oakland-based Transportation and Land Use Coalition. The cuts were especially disappointing because there is a major surplus in a special fuel tax fund that legislators agreed 30 years ago to reserve for public transit, she said.

from LA Times:

"The cuts could imperil a variety of transit projects, most notably the Exposition Line light rail from downtown L.A. to the Westside, extending the Orange Line busway from Warner Center to Chatsworth, and building the Gold Line from Pasadena to San Bernardino County, said Roger Snoble, chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"As far as improving transportation here, it's really a big setback," Snoble said.

Thanks to MTC-ABAG library

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, August 23, 2007 in San Francisco Examiner
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