FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2015
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Senate Rejects Huff Transportation Infrastructure Funding Proposal
Democrats Reject Efforts to Shift Cap and Trade Money to Roads and Highways
SACRAMENTO: Common sense legislation to fund new and existing road and highway construction was defeated in the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Development Committee by a party-line vote this afternoon. SBX1 2, authored by Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), would have shifted $1.9 billion in cap and trade taxes imposed on gasoline away from high speed rail and redirected the funding to better roads, highways and bridges.
Senator Huff introduced the measure in the Special Session on Transportation convened by the Governor, who challenged the Legislature to “enact permanent and sustainable funding to maintain and repair the state’s transportation and critical infrastructure, improve the state’s key trade corridors and complement local infrastructure efforts.”
“Californians already pay some of the highest transportation taxes in the country, yet our roads are in terrible shape,” said Senator Huff during today’s committee hearing. “Using cap and trade funds to move cars and trucks more efficiently on California’s roads and highways will reduce gas consumption and reduce greenhouse gases.”
The California Energy Commission estimates that putting gasoline under the cap is costing consumers ten cents per gallon. This is a hidden tax that California drivers are paying that was never passed by the voters and was imposed without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. Currently those taxes are being diverted from transportation to pay for a host of other pet projects.
This diversion has left California’s roads, bridges and highways in bad shape. With an estimated $59 billion in deferred road maintenance, California ranks 45th in overall highway performance and is home to the two most congested urban areas in the nation. Annually, highway repair and maintenance is underfunded by $5 billion and local street repair by another $1.8 billion.
“Even though Republicans disagree with this hidden cap and trade gas tax, motorists are still paying for it and they deserve some sort of benefit from it,” Senator Huff argued. “Our families need to move quickly to the market. They need to move quickly to work and to school. And when they can’t, it makes California a less desirable place to live.”
SBX1 2 failed on a 3-9 party line vote.
Senator Huff represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.