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California Transportation Funding Bill Stalls in Final Week

Gov. Jerry Brown's intervention to soffen Sen. Jim Beall's transportation funding bill by halving both the gas and diesel tax hikes did not assuage Republican critics of the bill, so Brown is extending the special legislative session past Friday.
September 13, 2015, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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This was the final week to pass critical legislation to address the enormous $59 billion problem of deferred highway and bridge maintenance, one of three infrastructure goals that Brown highlighted in his January inaugural address

Recognizing that the 12-cent gas and 22-cent diesel tax increases called for in SB X1-1 by Sen. Jim Beall (D-S.J.) would be a steep road to climb for tax opponents, Gov. Brown proposed an alternative measure that cut both tax hikes in half, as well as including additional measures favored by Republican critics of the bill in hopes of gaining their support.

But Republicans wouldn't budge. "During a press conference announcing a major change in landmark climate change legislation, Brown and the leader of the Assembly acknowledged that they were unlikely to reach a compromise before the regular legislative session concludes on Friday," writes Jeremy B. White for The Sacramento Bee. 

A special transportation session called by Brown allows lawmakers to work beyond the normal deadline. Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) said she and Senate president pro tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, would form a conference committee to continue working on the transportation issue “as we move into the fall.

Insufficient current transportation revenue has resulted in a "$6 billion annual shortfall," according to KQED News.

Republicans claim that while fuel tax revenue has grown, transportation spending has remained stagnant as revenues are "diverted to cover other budget priorities,” writes State Senator John Moorlach (R-Irvine)

Gov. Brown expressed optimism in meeting the state's transportation needs, writes White.

“The roads are going to get fixed,” Brown said. “People are going to spare the money, whether it takes a week, a month, a year or two.”

To listen to how SB X1-1 fared and where it goes from here, it's included in this radio report, an analysis by Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler of how important legislation fared in the closing days of the legislative session. It begins with one of the most important bills, SB 350, and the elimination of the oil reduction provision.

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Published on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 in The Sacramento Bee
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