When the housing crisis hit California like a freight train almost a decade ago, there wasn’t much that the legislature didn’t do in order to isolate the damage.
And that meant moving money from certain funds to use it to pay for other things that were adversely affected by the crumbling housing market and the economic fallout that came with it.
But that practice could change if the City of Lathrop’s efforts as part of a collective organized by the League of California cities is successful in preventing money earmarked for transportation projects to be diverted for non-transportation purposes for the foreseeable future.
On Monday, the council voted unanimously as part of the consent calendar to join the effort to bring a constitutional amendment to the ballot in June that would prevent any future diversions while at the same time opposing the SB1 repeal ballot proposition that is expected to be before voters in November. The measure increased gas taxes by 12 cents per gallon.
According to the staff report, “The Road Repair and Accountability Act” – known in political circles as the “gas tax” – was approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown last year and aims to help clear the backlog of more than $130 billion worth of transportation projects currently stacked up in Sacramento. Also known as SB1, the law has faced stiff opposition since its inception and has become political flashpoint in the race for California Governor this election cycle – reaching its crescendo in November when California voters will decide whether to keep the tax on the books or remove it with added provisions that would make it more difficult to increase funding for state and local transportation projects in the future.
At a local level, the city has received more than $125,000 in funding from SB1 with an additional $375,000 pledged to rehabilitate the roadway on Bizzibe Street between Louise Avenue and O Street, Mingo Way between Bizzibe Street and 5th Street, and Avon Street between Lathrop Road and Warren Avenue.
If SB1 were to be rejected by voters in November, the second portion of that rehabilitation funding would likely be eliminated, and the likelihood of securing funding for those projects in the future would become even more difficult.
The rehabilitation of those roadways in the city’s older part of town is scheduled to include a cape seal (the combination of a chip seal covered with a slurry seal), and according to the staff report, the city continues to face a road maintenance shortfall that would only get worse if SB1 is defeated and Proposition 69 doesn’t pass.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.