California Republicans accuse Democrats of diverting road repair funds

By Mike Luery : kcra – excerpt (including video)

Some of the many potholes in a single block of Carolina St, in San Francisco by Zrants. Join the international movement and “Adopt a Pothole” if you care about them.

$15 million spending measure pulled after controversy

California’s crumbling roads are supposed to get billions of dollars in repairs under Senate Bill 1. It raises taxes by 12 cents a gallon for gasoline and 20 cents a gallon more for diesel in order to fund road and bridge repairs across the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed for the bill to pass the Legislature two weeks ago, hasn’t even signed the $52 billion road repair bill.

The bill was controversial before it passed. But, new discussions beginning in the Senate are raising concerns as some lawmakers look to allocate $15 million to non-transportation projects…

Meanwhile, Republicans are accusing Brown of illegal vote trading after some lawmakers were promised millions of dollars in special project spending in their districts to help enlist their support for the gas tax.

But, Brown said deal making is all part of the political process.

“When somebody says, ‘Here, here’s $10,000, I want your vote,’ you’ve got bribery. It’s illegal,” Brown said. “When someone says, ‘You know, I think this bill will be better if you included these projects, these ideas or these rules,’ we listen because that’s democracy.”… (more)

Thanks Governor Brown for the lesson in diplomacy. It is still scratch my back and I will scratch yours. In this case, we suggest you follow the meaning and intent of the law if you sign it and apply ALL the funds to road and bridge repair.
We are already hearing that the $52 billion is insufficient so there is no legitimate reason to spend any of that on non-road repairs.
Keep in mind that potholes are most dangerous for pedestrians and two-wheelers and probably do more damage to public and emergency vehicles than other conditions on the road.
Where are the studies on accidents caused by potholes? Where are the estimates on costs to public services?

Broken promises with SB-1

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview. – excerpt

At first glance State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) would not seem to be a candidate for a yet to be written chapter for the sequel to Profiles in Courage.  Prior to taking office, Glazer spent his career as a lobbyist, consultant, fixer, and campaign manager, in the sleazy world of Sacramento politics.

Few people took much notice when Jerry Brown’s campaign manager in 2010 pledged when elected that he would ignore the special interests that previously employed him.  After less than two years in office, Glazer has made good on this promise while confounded his critics by not following the Democratic Party line in every instance.

Last week he further committed “progressive” treason (beyond opposing public transit worker strikes) by casting a vote against the passage of SB-1 which is the 52.5 billion dollar tax increase pushed by Governor Brown to pay for California’s deteriorating transportation system.  By raising the gasoline tax and increasing vehicle registration fees, Brown claims there will be enough funds allocated to get the job done.

Glazer, whose district is considered moderate by Bay Area standards, said that it was unnecessary to raise taxes rather than re-directing spending from the costly high-speed rail project and other questionable expenditures.

Glazer’s opposition to SB-1 might have worked if all Republican’s in the Senate opposed it because a two thirds vote was required to pass the measure.  This did not happen as Governor Brown enticed, or should we say bribed Republican Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres) to support SB-1 with 450 million in perks promised for his district.

Cannella does not care about the ire of the GOP as he is termed out in 2018 for his Senate seat.  No one would be surprised if Governor Brown gives him an appointment to a high paying state commission for his parting gift when leaving office.  That’s how things work in Sacramento… (more)

If you appreciate Senator Glazer’s no vote on SB-1, let him know: http://sd07.senate.ca.gov/contact

 

Nearly $1 billion in side deals for California gas tax approved

by Kate Murphy of bayareanewsgroup : eastbaytimes – excerpt (video linked)

SACRAMENTO — Nearly $1 billion in controversial side deals that may have persuaded key California lawmakers to get behind a controversial gas tax this month cleared the Legislature Monday.

In the lead-up to the April 6 gas-tax vote, funding for a handful of transportation projects surfaced in a separate bill, Senate Bill 132. The projects will benefit the districts represented by Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced; Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona, and Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.

All four lawmakers voted in favor of the gas tax — which passed narrowly, without a vote to spare.

Also part of the deal — and passed Monday — was Senate Bill 496, by Cannella, that would protect architects, engineers and other “design professionals” against legal claims made by public agencies. Cannella is an engineer.

The gas tax will generate more than $5 billion per year for road repairs and local transit projects by indefinitely increasing gas and diesel taxes and hiking vehicle registration fees. The increases will cost the average driver roughly $10 per month or less, the state estimates…(more)

They just called it a pothole gas tax. There is no guarantee on what will happen to the funds raised by the tax, other than special interests will benefit from it. Potholes effect everyone negatively. Fixing them is the most democratic use of public funds. Fixing them would reduce the costs of public transit repairs and make biking and walking a lot safer. SFMTA is literally painting over potholes to create red lanes and bike paths, making them more hazardous with the slick paint.

If you want to do something positive about potholes, join the international “Adopt a Pothole” movement:
https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

Join the Campaign to Repeal the Car Tax

posted by Carl DeMaio : iheart – excerpt

STOP the Car Tax
With virtually no notice to the public, Democratic politicians in the California State Legislature crammed through a massive hike to the Car Tax and Gax Tax.Fortunately, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio has unveiled a strategy for getting citizens involved in overturning these tax hikes! More on that in a bit, but first you need to understand how these tax hikes will cost YOU!

Car Tax: Pay More, Get Less!…“Politicians have been caught stealing gas tax monies and recent audits show billions in waste that should be going to road repairs,” notes Carl DeMaio. “The Car Tax and Gas Tax hike contains zero reforms of wasteful spending, meaning we are throwing good money after bad,” DeMaio warns…

The Gazelle Strategy to Repeal the Car Tax: Recalls!…

THE DEMAIO REPORT: Carl DeMaio provides investigative journalism and inside knowledge with an eye on solutions. The show focuses on the issues that matter most to you… (more)

RELATED:

Proposal to Divert Tax Monies Away from Roads Delayed After Public Criticism
Proposal Pulled From Committee Agenda for Further Discussion in the Future

Senator Jim Nielsen, 4/20/17
SACRAMENTO – Following public outcry over the diversion of the state’s massive $52 billion car and gas tax to pay for restroom repairs at state parks, the purchase of land for animal travel and grants to encourage people to visit parks, the majority led committee pulled the proposal off its agenda and promised to revisit the proposal at a later time, without giving a reason for deleting the diversion proposals off of Thursday’s agenda.

“We, the people, expect transparency and honesty from our government,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “The spending of our tax dollars should be done with great care and in the open to retain the trust of our constituents, and to keep government accountable. Without this trust, our democracy does not work.”

Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), said, “While the discussion of diverting road tax funds has been pulled from today’s budget hearing, it doesn’t mean the threat is gone. Sacramento Democrats aren’t being transparent about the true cost of the gas tax increase. It’s the largest gas tax increase in the state’s history, and it will automatically increase each year with no sunset date. Californians deserve better.”…

Despite the fact that the Governor has yet to sign Senate Bill 1, legislative Democrats proposed to steer tax dollars that will be collected in November on non-transportation proposals including:

  • $5 million for park restroom maintenance
  • $5 million to buy land for improved animal travel e.g. corridors
  • $5 million for grant programs to encourage people to visit parks

These proposals are not fixing our crumbling roads, highways and bridges. They will not get us to work or home any faster nor will they lower the cost of car repair as claimed…(more)

Today’s SB-1 as Amended

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1

If this is the Governor’s Pothole bill, it is badly labeled as most the money will not be going to potholes. Potholes look like an afterthought. Here is the law as amended today according to the official site. I dare you to find how much of this tax will go to fixing the potholes.

If you object to these new taxes being marketed as a pothole tax, without a clear description of how the money will be applied to fixing potholes, call the state reps and request a no vote on SB-1. Insist they give us the option of a “pothole only” tax: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

RELATED:
Editorial: Gov. Brown’s roads taxes veer way off course  

Gov. Brown In Riverside Pushing For Gas Tax Hikes

losangeles.cbslocal – excerpt (video included)

Potholes on Carolina Street.

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) —Gov. Jerry Brown joined state and local representatives in Riverside Tuesday to push for a bill that would raise gasoline taxes and vehicle license fees to pay for road repairs.

The Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017 is expected to generate an estimated $5.2 billion a year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

Senate Bill 1 seeks to raise gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon, hike the vehicle registration fee to $48 a year on average and require drivers of electric vehicles to pay and extra $100 per year.

The pump price hikes would cost drivers about $10 a month, according to the governor’s office…

President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said the bill will contain a lockbox that will make sure the money can only be spent on roads and bridges.

“All transportation dollars will be in that lockbox and used exclusively for our roads and for transportation,” de Leon said…(more)

As we know the two paragraphs are not the same. roads and bridges does not mean roads and transportation. We have been done this tax road before. It is still a crooked road full of false promises.

 

Update on CA AB342 (Speed Cams) and Please Support AB1094 Today!

Dear California NMA Members,

Thank you for all your emails and phone calls this past week to oppose AB 342 (speed cameras in CA).  Jay Beeber of Safe Streets L.A. told NMA yesterday that the bill has been tabled by the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee for now, but there is still a possibility that it can come back in April.  Keep the pressure on!  Beeber mentioned that phone calls and faxes get the most attention.  Call and write your elected Assembly representatives TODAY!
Here is a link to an L.A. Weekly article that appeared this morning featuring Beeber and AB 342.

Another bill that has the potential to be voted on a consent agenda this week in the Assembly is AB1094. Safer Streets L.A. (mentioned above), an organization dedicated to the adoption of scientifically sound and sensible transportation and traffic laws, strongly supports the passage of AB 1094. So does the National Motorists Association.

AB 1094 clarifies that violations of the traffic control signal at freeway on-ramp meters is properly cited under CVC 21455. By providing more specificity as to the requirement to heed the controls imposed at at freeway on-ramp meters and how this violation should be cited under the vehicle code, AB 1094 helps both law enforcement and the general public better understand their obligations and responsibilities with respect to this violation. This should help avoid unneeded confusion and provide savings in both time and resources. NMA and Safer Streets L.A. supports measures such as AB 1094 which provide greater clarity within the vehicle code.

You can send your letters to Nathan.Skadsen@asm.ca.gov who is the staff member for the bill’s author, Assemblymember Steven S. Choi. Or contact by mail or by phone: Capitol Office, Room 2016, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0068; (916) 319-2068
Copies should also be cc’d to the Transportation Committee analyst Victoria.Alvarez@asm.ca.gov.

If you would like to contact your own elected representatives, find he or she HERE.

Keep those phone calls, faxes, emails and letters going! Persistence makes a difference!

Thank you for your support!

RELATED:

Speed-Camera Tickets Could Be Legalized in California

By Dennis Romero : laweekly – excerpt

A new state legislative proposal would legalize cameras that issue speeding tickets, as part of a pilot program. Jay Beeber, an Angeleno who’s a longtime warrior against the perceived unfairness of the city’s parking tickets, has mounted a campaign against the speed-camera bill by Assemblyman David Chiu. Although the five-year pilot program would apply only to Chiu’s hometown of San Francisco and to San Jose, there’s fear that the bill, AB 342, eventually would open the floodgates to speed cameras statewide…

He argues it’s all about getting more money out of taxpayers without actually having to do the difficult and politically perilous job of raising taxes. Jay S. Carsman, a former Los Angeles Department of Transportation parking systems coordinator, who is credited with moving parking tickets from the courts to administrative hearings, has joined Beeber in the fight against the bill.

“Unfortunately, the unrelenting demands for substantial revenue growth, the blanket authority granted to each local agency to adjust their schedule of fines and late payment penalties, and the time limits and monetary demands placed upon motorists wishing to contest their [parking] citation(s) allied to a corrupted system of inflated fines and penalties and the routine denial of any meaningful justice to literally millions of California motorists,” he writes in a letter opposing the bill. ” … I urge you to not compound the mistakes we made with parking citations by adding any motor vehicle moving violations to a similar legal status.”… (more)

 

 

 

Outreach Launches This Spring to Finalize Details for Geary Rapid Upgrades

by Kate Elliott : sfmta  (includes graphics)\

We’re gearing up to start the first set of Geary transit upgrades later this year.

In the coming months, we will launch further outreach for the Geary Rapid Project, which focuses on early improvements on the stretch of the 38 Geary route between Market Street and Stanyan streets. In the meantime, we will finalize the design and construction of longer-term improvements for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project.

With the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) approved unanimously by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Board in January, lead management of the project is transitioning from the SFCTA to the SFMTA, which will design and implement Geary improvements as two separate projects… (more)

Outreach is a joke, or  I should say an insult. Angry people gave up on talking to the SFMTA wall and filed a lawsuit to stop the excesses in this project. the case is making its way through the courts now and many are praying the ruling will stop this and other controversial projects.
Taxpayers revolted in the fall when asked for more money to show their displeasure in how the SFMTA is spending the money but they have hungry contractors to feed and more high-paid planning staff to hire so they could care less what we want.
SFMTA is removing stops and bus seats and constantly forcing the public to deal with their baggage and can’t figure out why ridership is slipping. They are especially short on the weekends and evenings. Why would anyone want to spend their time off on the Muni after putting up with it all week?

After yet another epic jam, it’s clear Seattle’s decisions about traffic must include cars

by Seattle Times editorial board : seattletimes – excerpt

In the photo above – San Francisco Fire Truck stopped all lanes of traffic on Potrero to get into the parking lot at General Hospital in a parking exercise. What will happen when the street is full of traffic during an emergency? More fire department exercises here.

Last Monday’s traffic debacle is another opportunity to discuss whether Seattle’s making the right decisions about traffic.

As the city of Seattle explains away its response to last Monday’s traffic debacle, area residents are shaking their heads and wondering when it will happen again.

They felt the same way after a 2015 fish-truck crash crippled the city. Mayor Ed Murray promised that Seattle would respond better in the future, based in part on an accident-response manual it was developing.

“The steps we are taking will help improve our response time and get traffic flowing after incidents as quickly as possible,” he said then…

Yes, Monday’s crash of a propane truck that closed Interstate 5 was an extraordinary event. Emergency responders are to be commended for preventing further injury.

Even so, the incident and paralyzing traffic that affected tens of thousands of people was a painful reminder of essential needs that Seattle, the regional hub, must fulfill.

It’s also another opportunity to discuss whether Seattle should place a higher priority on reducing congestion. No question it should. That would improve traffic overall and better position the city for accidents.

Because Seattle straddles state freeways at their busiest points, it should be ready to absorb the traffic when they’re disrupted…

Monday’s gridlock highlighted the folly of Seattle’s utopian, anti-car transportation planning.

Despite extensive street re-configurations, the share of trips taken by bicycle hasn’t grown. Yet the number of vehicles owned, drivers and miles driven continue to grow — as does congestion.

Seattle will always be a busy city with lots of traffic within and through its borders. So infrastructure planning should be based on overall need, not ideology and special-interest lobbying.

Policy should be guided by total capacity and demand, not cherry-picked statistics and wishful assumptions(more)

How big of a disaster will it take to wake up City Halls to the dangerous failures street diets are?

 

You can read the link below if you want to see streetsblog’s reply to the Seattle Times assertions. They have a cute graphic with less cars and a single bus in the bus lane to “prove” that more bike lanes reduce cars. I am only going to point out one thing.

Just because City Hall pays millions, (I’m sorry, billions) of dollars to put in “safe” bike lanes does not mean that a lot of bikes are going to fill them. As you drive down the most streets you may passing one of two bikes at the most on each block while hundreds of cars stream past. By making it difficult for cars and buses to share the road, you further create gridlock in the bus lanes as the buses pile up on each other in the red zones.

We cannot afford to continue to support this failed system as we gear up for budget cuts and important battles like providing health care to those who are losing it.

What will it take to end the car wars?

Truck Crash on Freeway Paralyzes Traffic. Seattle Times: Ditch the Bike Lanes!

– These articles were sent by a reader. Keep them coming.

Wiener proposes major fundraising legislation for transportation agencies statewide

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

oon, the threshold for passing local transportation bonds in California could be far lower, unlocking funding for countless transit needs across the Golden State.
A new transbay tube. Caltrain electrification. Miles of new subways in cities from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

State Sen. Scott Wiener’s newly introduced state constitutional amendment would make funding projects like those far easier, by lowering the threshold to pass transportation bonds from a two-thirds voter majority to 55 percent.

That threshold is determined by the California constitution. The state constitutional amendment, which Wiener plans to introduce Monday, is still in its infancy. But if it succeeds, its effects could be far reaching.

“We have massive unfunded transportation needs on public transportation, roads and bridges,” Wiener told the San Francisco Examiner. “We need to empower local communities to fund these needs.”

Those needs include more than $59 billion in deferred transportation maintenance statewide, according to draft background language of the bill. Those needs are in the Bay Area, too…

“San Francisco’s unfunded transportation needs are billions and billions of dollars,” he said, “This money is absolutely needed.”…(more)

There is no SLUSH fund in the taxpayer’s pockets. Voters opposed the last tax hike because they can’t afford it. Government has lost the trust of the people. The SFMTA claimed they would improve traffic and transit and the opposite has happened.  Many don’t want the future being planned and more cannot afford to pay for it. The solution is a moratorium on hiring and major cuts to new projects until the current ones are completed and paid for.