Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins discussing California’s transportation issues at Fresno press conference.
FRESNO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature’s special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to keep California moving.
“The Central Valley is vital to California’s economy, and fixing our infrastructure is vital to the Central Valley,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “Many Valley communities and businesses are dependent on the lifelines provided by Highway 99 and Highway 5. They need to be kept in good shape. That’s why we are working closely with the state’s local elected officials and business community to ensure we can enact real solutions to the state’s transportation problems in this special session of the Legislature.”
“It’s fundamental that California be able to move goods and people in a modern, efficient way,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who called for a special session on transportation funding in June. “The problem is clear and we’re going to find the right path forward. The potholes don’t wait, the congestion doesn’t wait.”
A study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that peak-commute drivers in Fresno waste 23 hours a year sitting in traffic, resulting in an estimated cost of $495 per driver. More than 75% of motorists in Fresno County drive their own cars instead of taking public transportation, and that takes a heavy toll on the roads.
“Some of the roads in Stanislaus County are literally crumbling under my tires, and the Seventh Street Bridge in Modesto needs basic maintenance so badly it is no longer safe for heavy trucks and busses,” said Vito Chiesa, president of the California State Association of Counties and a Stanislaus County supervisor. “Reforms and accountability measures are needed to ensure taxpayer dollars are going toward transportation, but it is an indisputable fact that we need new revenues to address the severe maintenance backlog of our local streets and roads. I urge lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Sacramento to find a workable solution. The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost when we do finally fix our roads.”
Fixing all our roads now would cost more than $100 billion, but waiting 10 years would push the cost to nearly $300 billion. Every dollar invested in transportation infrastructure produces $5.20 in economic benefit, and every $1 billion that gets spent on transportation infrastructure leads to roughly 18,000 jobs.
Darius Assemi, Granville Homes President and CEO and California Transportation Commission Commissioner, added, “We need more revenue along with reforms to ensure Californians’ tax dollars are spent wisely, and solely used for transportation purposes to fix our deteriorating roads.”
Transportation funding has not kept pace with the state’s aging infrastructure. Most of the funding comes from gasoline excise taxes, which have not kept up with inflation. California collects 30 cents per gallon, a value that hasn’t increased in 25 years and, in fact, decreased by 6 cents in July. This means that the purchasing power of today’s excise tax is at an all-time low. Increased fuel-efficiency standards allow cars to travel more miles with less gas, also generating fewer gas-tax dollars to fix the roads.
According to multiple studies in recent years, California faces numerous transportation problems:
California has the second-highest share of roads in “poor condition” in the nation. More than half of our state roads need rehabilitation or pavement maintenance.
Our state has six of the 10 cities with the worst road conditions in the nation.
Nearly 1/3 of our bridges and overpasses show signs of deterioration, or do not meet design standards.
Nearly 70% of California’s urban roads and highways are congested.
LOS ANGELES—Declaring the urgent need to keep California moving, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature's special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to the state.
“Currently, the state has $59 billion in deferred maintenance for transportation projects,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “We've been working with a broad bipartisan coalition that includes business and labor leaders, transportation experts and officials from the state, cities and counties. Our next steps will be working with Republicans in the Legislature. It may be a bumpy road, but we believe that we can find a solution that will concretely and tangibly make Californians' lives better by making safer roads that keep goods and people moving.”
OAKLAND—Declaring the urgent need to keep California moving, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature’s special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to the state.
“California cannot have a strong middle class or a thriving economy if our roads are congested and people and goods aren’t moving efficiently,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “That’s why in the special session, I am hopeful we can set aside rigid ideology and consider serious proposals that provide a new, fair funding stream that benefits all California communities.”
SACRAMENTO – The state Legislature today honored the millions of immigrants residing in California and the nation with resolutions that point out their leadership and “countless contributions” that have enriched our nation.
“The immigrant story is the American story and that story is nowhere better told than in California,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, himself the son of an immigrant. “As our state is one of great natural beauty and geographical diversity, its people too present a wonderful mosaic of races, cultures, and religious beliefs that have shaped California and made it into the seventh largest economy in the world.”
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges:
“This is a very emotional day. We feel relief, of course, that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the fundamental right of same-sex couples to legally commit their lives to each other. We feel admiration for the couples and the advocates who have fought for marriage equality through election after election and court after court, never giving up. And we feel pride in a movement that has helped inform public opinion and bring about justice in what, historically, is a relatively swift period of time. But most of all, we feel joy for every couple in every state who now have the opportunity to share their lives with the respect, dignity and legal protections that marriage brings.”
Below are audio links of Speaker Atkins’ comments about the marriage ruling:
Speaker Atkins reacts to today’s marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. (1:03)
Speaker Atkins says has a personal understanding of what today’s ruling means to same sex couples. (:48)
Speaker Atkins says she will celebrate the ruling with friends, family and supporters in San Diego this evening. (1:38)
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on King v. Burwell:
“I’m pleased the Supreme Court made the right decision and upheld the Affordable Care Act subsidies in states that have not set up their own health care exchanges. While California would not have been impacted had the subsidies been struck down, since we were the first state to establish an exchange, the ruling prevents chaos in the country’s health care system and protects millions of our fellow Americans who would have lost their health coverage. With this ruling showing that court challenges to Obamacare are as tenuous as the Congressional repeal efforts have been politically ineffective, maybe cooler heads can now prevail and the focus can be on how to make health care coverage even more accessible and affordable in every state in the nation.”
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) issued the following statement regarding Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s signing of the 2015-16 state budget:
“The Governor’s signature is the next step for a prudent and progressive budget that will make California a better place to live, work and play. We are sending more money to schools, helping working families by expanding child care and preschool and establishing a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and we improve higher education funding and financial aid. The budget the Governor signed today makes important investments and pays down debt while adding to state reserves. It is not only a reflection of our state’s economic health, but a plan that will continue to help build California’s fiscal fitness.
“While the budget signed today is clearly the best one we’ve had in years, there is more work to do on Medi-Cal, DDS and infrastructure. Today, I will be appointing the members of the Assembly committees for the special sessions that have been called on health care and infrastructure. Those committees will take the lead in resolving the important issues still before us.”
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) released the following statement regarding the Superior Court’s decision to grant Attorney General Kamala Harris’ request to not issue title and summary for the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” an offensive and dangerous ballot initiative:
“The court has brought an appropriate end to this disturbing episode. LGBT Californians shouldn't be threatened and our initiative process shouldn't be hijacked. Let's hope it's the last time our system is abused to promote the political equivalent of toxic waste.”
SACRAMENTO—The California State Assembly today approved a revised version of the budget passed on Monday, which will now go to Governor Brown for action. If signed by July 1, this will be California’s fifth consecutive on-time, balanced budget.
“The budget we sent to the Governor today reflects many of the top priorities of Assembly Democrats,” said Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “This budget will reduce poverty, restore much-needed funding for schools and early childhood education, establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit that benefits over 2 million Californians and increases funding for higher education while building reserves and paying down debt. Although this budget addressed key issues, there is still more work to be done for the developmental disabilities community and on Medi-Cal rates, transportation and infrastructure, and I look forward to working with my Assembly colleagues, the Senate, and the Governor to resolve these important issues.”