Pothole Peril: Commission Opposes Proposition 6
MTC’s commissioners have taken an “oppose” stance on Proposition 6, a measure on November ballots across California that would repeal a state gas tax increase and other transportation fees enacted by the state Legislature in 2017 via Senate Bill 1. In addition to canceling all revenue sources added by SB 1, including over $200 million per year for pothole repairs across the Bay Area, Proposition 6 dictates that any tax on motor vehicle fuel or vehicles themselves must be subject to a vote of the people, retroactive to January 1, 2017. As a result, Proposition 6 would not only cut funding in the near term, it would make it very difficult to replace the lost funds in the future.
In taking an oppose position on Proposition 6 in a unanimous vote at its monthly meeting on July 25, 2018, MTC joins a broad coalition of public safety, environmental, business and social justice groups along with dozens of local governments that have come out against the measure.
“In round numbers, the threatened SB 1 funding is about half of local governments’ streets and roads money from the state,” said Randy Rentschler, MTC’s director of Legislation and Public Affairs, in a presentation to the Commission earlier in July. “The stakes are high.”
Enacted in April 2017, Senate Bill 1 is seen as a landmark transportation funding bill that provides approximately $5 billion per year in ongoing funding for transportation after decades of underinvestment by the state. The primary goal of SB 1 is to restore the condition of the state highway system and local streets and roads after decades of deferred maintenance that has caused billions of dollars in accumulated maintenance shortfalls.
While state and local roadway maintenance receives the vast majority of SB 1 funds, the bill also provides vital new funding for better public transit options, congestion reduction and bike and pedestrian safety.
What’s at Stake
Passage of Proposition 6 and the resulting repeal of SB 1 would not only put portions of funding for local streets and roads in peril, but also would imperil plans for replacing worn-out transit vehicles and other basic needs of the Bay Area’s aging transit systems. It also would jeopardize plans for additional capacity for BART and the regional rail system’s extension to Silicon Valley, the electrification of Caltrain in the Peninsula, and the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) rail system’s planned extension from San Rafael to the ferry dock in Larkspur, among other projects. Bay Area congestion relief projects with SB 1 funding at risk include the Port of Oakland 7th Street Grade Separation, Highway 101 widening in the Marin-Sonoma Narrows, the I-80/I-680/SR-12 Interchange in Solano County and the I-680/SR-4 Interchange in Contra Costa County.