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OCMOVES: A CLOSER LOOK AT GOV. BROWN’S TRANSPORTATION PRIORITIES

OCBC’s OCMoves members advocate Orange County’s transportation priorities at regional, state and federal levels, as well as provide oversight on behalf of the business community. 
OCBC applauds the Governor Jerry Brown for prioritizing California’s aging transportation infrastructure with a balanced approach that includes both revenues and reforms.  The budget proposal Gov. Brown released earlier this month includes total funding of $18.1 billion for all programs administered within the Transportation Agency. In addition, the Shared Revenues budget in the General Government area allocates over $1.6 billion in fuel excise tax to cities and counties for local streets and roads (including $200 million from Gov. Brown’s transportation package).  The budget reflects the Governor’s transportation funding and reform package first outlined in September 2015. The package includes a combination of new revenues, additional investments of Cap and Trade auction proceeds, accelerated loan repayments, Caltrans efficiencies and streamlined project delivery, accountability measures, and constitutional protections for new revenues. Over the next 10 years, Gov. Brown’s transportation package provides almost $43 billion for transportation investments with revenues split evenly between state highways and local roads, placing an emphasis on repairing and maintaining existing infrastructure. The plan also includes a big investment in public transit and active transportation. Now is the time for legislative leadership to take Gov. Brown’s proposal a craft a compromise that finalizes a transportation deal this legislative year.
10-Year Infrastructure Investment Plan Key Components:
  • Active Transportation Program - $1 billion Cap and Trade for Caltrans to expand the grant program for local projects that encourage active transportation, with at least 50 percent of the funds directed to benefit disadvantaged communities;
  • Local Streets and Roads/Local Partnership Funds - About $11.4 billion in Shared Revenues allocated to cities and counties for local road maintenance, and over $2.2 billion in state-local partnership grants;
  • Sustainable Transportation Grants - An increase of $25 million annually for competitive planning grants to assist regions and local governments in achieving sustainable transportation requirements.
  • Corridor Mobility Improvements - An increase of over $2.7 billion for multi-modal investments on key congested commute corridors that demonstrate best practices for quality public transit and managed highway lanes such as priced express lanes or high-occupancy vehicle lanes. Included is also $25 million annually to expand the freeway service patrol program.
  • Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program - An increase of over $4.2 billion (including $4 billion in additional Cap and Trade as well as $256 million from loan repayments) for transit capital investments that provide greenhouse gas reductions, with at least 50 percent of the funds directed to benefit disadvantaged communities.
  • Highway Repairs and Maintenance - An increase of almost $18 billion (including $1 billion from Caltrans efficiency savings) for Caltrans to fund maintenance on the state highway system.
  • State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) - An augmentation and stabilization to the STIP, which should not only allow the California Transportation Commission to restore funding for $750 million worth of projects cut from the program in 2016, but also program approximately $800 million in new projects in the 2018 STIP.
  • Trade Corridor Improvements - An increase of over $2.8 billion (including $2.5 billion in new revenues and $323 million from loan repayments) for Caltrans to fund projects along the state’s major trade corridors, providing ongoing funding for a program originally established with $2 billion in one-time Proposition 1B bond funding.
Revenues to Support New Infrastructure Investment - The 10-year funding plan will provide a total of almost $43 billion in new funding and redirected savings from efficiencies for transportation priorities. Specifically, the proposal includes annualized resources as follows:
  • Road Improvement Charge - $2.1 billion from a new $65 fee on all vehicles, including hybrids and electrics.
  • Stabilize Gasoline Excise Tax - $1.1 billion by setting the gasoline excise tax at the 2013-14 rate of 21.5 cents and eliminating the current annual adjustments. The broader gasoline tax would then be adjusted annually for inflation to maintain purchasing power.
  • Diesel Excise Tax - $425 million from an 11-cent increase in the diesel excise tax. This tax would also be adjusted annually for inflation to maintain purchasing power.
  • Cap and Trade - $500 million in additional Cap and Trade proceeds.
  • Caltrans Efficiencies - $100 million in cost-saving reforms.
Also, the Budget includes a General Fund commitment to transportation by accelerating $706 million in loan repayments over the next three years. These funds will support additional investments in the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, trade corridor improvements, and repairs to the state highway system. For more information, contact Bryan Starr, Sr. Vice President, Government Affairs.

Posted on January 24, 2017

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