The November election ballot has many propositions. It is easy to be confused with specific proposals – what they are about and what are the key facts that you, as a voter, need to know to make an informed choice.
Prop 6 is one of those. It proposes to repeal SB1, a 2017 law which created tax and fee provisions to pay for repairs and improvements to local roads, state highways, and public transportation.
Here are some key facts. Prior to the passage of SB1, the fixed portion of the gasoline tax in California had remained at 18 cents per gallon since the early 1990’s. Also important, with the passage of Proposition 69 in June 2018, one hundred percent of all gasoline taxes and those additional fees created by SB1 are constitutionally protected, which guarantees that these funds can only be used for transportation purposes. That is an important point – these dollars will be going to our Ventura County highways, local roads, bridges that need to be maintained and improved.
SB1 invests $54 billion over 10 years for use on roads and bridges and more in our communities across California – half of which goes to local counties and cities. SB1 emphasizes accountability and transparency by holding Caltrans and local governments accountable for the investment of these public funds to maintain our public highways, streets, and roads. SB1 created an Independent Office of Audits and Investigations to maintain an objective audit and investigation program to be transparent to all of us.
SB1 provides no funding for the state General Fund or the High-Speed Rail. None. The SB1 revenues can only be used for transportation needs.
What does SB1 really cost? Lots of numbers are being thrown around, however; the California Department of Finance calculated the average cost to motorists is around $120 per year per vehicle ($70 in fuel costs and $50 in increased registration fees) that budgets to $10 per month per vehicle. California motorists currently pay $763 per vehicle per year in extra vehicle repair costs due to wear and tear because of poor roads conditions.
SB1 is a job creator. The White House Council of Economic Advisors found that every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure supports 13,000 jobs a year. With the $5 billion annual spending planned from SB1, this measure will put 65,000 people to work; plus 2% of the tax will go to supporting parks and agriculture infrastructure.
What will happen without these SB1 funds? The loss of $33M in funds means that roads and bridges in Ventura County will continue to deteriorate and that their eventual repair will be at a much higher cost. The funding required annually for cost-effective maintenance (including resurfacing) for the 5400+ lane miles maintained by the 10 cities and the County is $90M. Without the additional taxes and fees provided by SB1, the shortfall in road and bridge needs is almost $60M annually countywide.
Since 2010 the dollars collected as transportation funds have been constitutionally protected. Prop 69 passed in June of 2018 protects the additional funds generated by SB1. These funds are important to the roads, bridges, bike lanes, and the quality and safety of lives and vehicles in Ventura County. The co-signers of this document understand the need to be good stewards of all funds provided and the importance of completing projects that improve safety and quality of life in Ventura County. Thank you.
City and County Public Works Directors of Ventura County