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  

Marin IJ Editorial: TAM study shows changing traffic patterns

marinij – excerpt


Bay Bridge photo by Zrants

Marin’s transportation decision-makers now have a better idea about the comings and goings of the county’s traffic.

A study using carpool, GPS and census data to track the movement of people in and out of Marin found that more of our local workforce is driving into the county. A growing number of motorists are driving into Marin from San Francisco and the East Bay….

It shows Marin residents’ reliance on San Francisco for their workplaces, as well as Marin’s reliance on out-of-county commuters to fill local jobs.

The new data also show that as the price to buy a home or rent an apartment in Marin continues to grow, more workers are forced into those already congested commutes, including making it a lot harder to get up and down Highway 101… (more)

This appears to indicate that forcing people to move away from their jobs is increasing regional traffic. If that is the case, the solution to reducing traffic is to reduce displacement by stabilizing rents. Pass this along.

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)

 

 

 

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Still Need a Lot of Human Help

By Maya Kosoff : vanityfair – excerpt

They can barely go a mile without human intervention, according to leaked documents.

Travis Kalanick has described self-driving technology as “existential” to Uber’s future as a company. But according to recent internal documents obtained by Recode and BuzzFeed News, Uber is still nowhere close to having a fully autonomous vehicle. Recode reports that during the week ending March 8, Uber’s self-driving cars traveled, on average, just 0.8 miles on their own before a human had to take over, in a process known as “disengagement.” That Uber’s cars cannot travel a mile without human intervention does not bode particularly well for a company whose future is predicated on its self-driving technology… (more)

U.S. Transportation department executive approved grant days before taking job with rail contractor

By Ralph Vartabedian : latimes – excerpt

A top Obama administration executive at the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a $647-million grant for a California rail project in mid-January and less than two weeks later went to work for a Los Angeles-based contractor involved in the project, The Times has learned.

The grant provides a significant part of the money required to install a $2-billion electrical power system on the Bay Area’s Caltrain commuter rail system, allowing the rail to retire its diesel locomotives.

The power equipment will eventually be used by the state’s bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, making it a critical part of the $64-billion program. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has pledged about $713 million to help install the system, according to state records.

The grant was handled by Carolyn Flowers, the acting chief of the Federal Transit Administration.  Flowers announced the grant approval in a letter, dated Jan. 18,  to congressional leaders. The Times obtained a copy of the letter…

Thirteen days later, Flowers went to work for Aecom, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm. The company news release announcing her hiring says she will head its North American transit practice. Aecom provides program management services to Caltrain for the electrification project, according to Caltrain documents. It was formerly a regional consultant to the high-speed rail project as well.

On Friday, the federal transit agency said it had “deferred” a decision on the grant and said it would look at the matter in the next federal budget cycle. The decision may be an early sign of the Trump administration’s view of the bullet train project. The line is already under construction and will need significant federal funding moving forward.

The delay follows a letter from every Republican member of the California House delegation to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, asking that the grant be put off until an audit of the high-speed rail project is completed.
This is exactly what America hates about Washington, D.C… (more)

Don’t they call this the revolving door?

RELATED:
Carolyn Flowers-letter to congress 
Caltrain and High Speed Rail and FTA funding – Revolving Door Shenanigans

California bicyclists would be allowed to roll past stop signs under proposed law

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Cyclists in California would be allowed to pedal past stop signs — without stopping — under legislation proposed by two lawmakers who say it would make the roads safer.

The two-tiered approach to the rules of the road — one for cyclists and one for cars — is unlikely to ease growing tensions over sharing California’s roadways.

Bike advocates have won such victories in the Statehouse as requiring drivers to yield a three-foot radius of manoeuvring room to cyclists or face fines. Motorists meanwhile have expressed frustration that they see certain cyclists pick and choose which laws to follow.

Assemblymen Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced their measure on Friday that would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as merely yield signs — proceeding with caution if conditions are safe.

In effect, it would legalize the so-called California roll, although just for bicyclists…(more)

This law AB-1103 Bicycles: yielding has been through the legislature a number of times and has not passed yet. It will create more problems than it will solve and is not supported by all cyclists:

  1. Will this apply to 2-way stop signs or just 4-way stop signs? How will cyclists know the difference?
  2. Does anyone think cyclists will slow down more than they do now to look before “rolling” through?
  3. Legislators should include a clause that requires cyclists to purchase licenses and insurance to cover damages resulting from passage of this new law.
  4. This will be particularly difficult for drivers of large vehicles like buses and trucks, who can’t easily see bikes or stop on a dime when they do.
  5. How can SFMTA speed buses though intersections when they must worry about hitting cyclists rolling through stop signs?
  6. This will negatively impact the safety of other cyclists, pedestrians, tourists and young people who will find it even more confusing to walk safely on the streets than they do now.
  7. Wait for the lawsuits to come in.

Details on the AB-1103 – An act to amend Section 21200 of the Vehicle Code, relating to bicycles – Introduced by Assembly Members Obernolte and Ting (Coauthors: Assembly Members Bloom, Chávez, and Kiley)

Principal coauthor: Senator Wiener

Forum on future of interstate highways coming to SF

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Bay Area residents are being invited to participate in an ongoing study on the future of interstate highways, which will provide recommendations on the country’s highway system plan for the next 50 years.

The study is being organized by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Transportation Research Board, who at the request of Congress are holding a number of events across the country. The events offer the public the chance to participate in how best to plan, fund, operate and maintain the 60-year-old, nearly 47,000-mile freeway network in the decades ahead.

For those who are interested in providing their views, the study is coming close to home next weekend. On Feb. 23 and 24 the Transportation Research Board will be hosting a forum open to the public. The first meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Yerba Buena conference room at the Bay Area Metro Center at 375 Beale Street in San Francisco. The second meeting will be held at the same location on Friday, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon… (more)

If you are concerned about the state of the country’s highways and how the funds for roads are being spent, it is a good idea to write letters, send comments and show up if possible.