Mayors of the Bay Area’s three largest cities today joined forces with the region’s leading business and urban planning groups to announce their endorsement of legislation – SB1 and AB1 — to invest in fixing California’s broken streets, roads and highways. They called on lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown to agree on a final package of funding measures by a self-imposed April 6 deadline.
The urgent call for action came from San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, along with Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman, Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino and SPUR CEO Gabriel Metcalf. Together, the three cities represent a quarter of the region’s overall population while the three groups represent hundreds of the region’s largest employers and hundreds of thousands of workers and residents.
Two funding bills currently are working their way through the statehouse, SB1 by State Sen. Jim Beall and AB1 by Assemblymember Jim Frazier. Both bills propose a mix of fuel tax increases, fees and money-saving efficiency measures that would generate up to $6 billion a year. Gov. Brown has similarly proposed $4.2 billion in his budget plan.
“Failing to invest adequately in our transportation networks will limit regional economic growth and undermine efforts to reduce our environmental impact,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Voters throughout the Bay Area stepped up last fall, passing a variety of transportation and infrastructure measures. They did their part. Now it’s time for Sacramento and Washington, DC to do the same.”
“This legislation will provide some much-needed support for our regional transportation network,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “When the Bay Area moves better, it benefits our economy, our environment, and the quality of life of our residents. If we want to reduce traffic congestion and improve public transit services, we need to ensure that our transportation system receives adequate funding.”
“Every dollar we invest in basic road maintenance today will save us $4 in the future to repair a failed road,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We need the state legislature to approve this critical investment in our transportation infrastructure, and I’d like to thank Sen. Beall and Assemblymember Frazier for their continued commitment to fixing our aging and deteriorating roads.”
The Bay Area’s transportation woes have reached a crisis level, with the region’s congested roads and highways regularly topping rankings of the nation’s worst traffic. Road conditions are appalling, made even worse by the winter’s unrelenting and powerful storms. Local and regional mass transit systems are buckling under increasing demand and aging infrastructure that can’t handle the load. The dire picture here is reflective of conditions across the state, with estimates for addressing California’s backlog of bridge and highway maintenance and repair work reaching $57 billion. That doesn’t include another $78 billion in unmet local street and roads repairs.
In the Bay Area, the price tag to bring deteriorating roads and highways into a state of good repair is estimated at $8.8 billion over 10 years. In the absence of new state funding, cities and counties in recent years have passed numerous local, self-help funding measures to pay for transportation. But, the money simply isn’t enough to address the huge backlog of work and pay for projects that span the region.
“The visionary voters of Santa Clara County once again stepped up this past November and passed Measure B – Better Commutes for Better Roads,” said Carl Guardino, CEO and president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and member of the California Transportation Commission. “It’s time for state action that provides both revenue and reform – new revenue to fund an unmet need of $298 Billion over ten years, and strong reforms to maximize every hard-earned tax payer dollar.
“There is almost nothing that would make a greater difference to the Bay Area than fixing transportation,” said SPUR CEO Gabriel Metcalf. “For our economy, our environment, and our quality of life, we need to make significant, smart investments, and we need to do it now.”
“The Bay Area’s streets and roads are in a shambles and our economy is starting to suffer,” said Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman. “Investing to fix and upgrade our aging and overburdened transportation system is critical for the long-term health of our region.”
The Legislature has failed for years to reach agreement on a transportation funding package. Although a special session on transportation called last year by Gov. Brown produced no results, there is renewed optimism this year that a growing drumbeat of frustration over the state’s failing system will propel lawmakers and the Governor to reach an agreement.
Allison Arieff SPUR 415-644-4297
John Grubb Bay Area Council 415-946-8705
Kimberly Ellis Silicon Valley Leadership Group 408-501-7853
SPUR, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, is a member-supported nonprofit organization. We bring people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the big problems our cities face. With offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, we are recognized as a leading civic planning organization and respected for our independent and holistic approach to urban issues. Learn more at spur.org.
About the Bay Area Council
The Bay Area Council is a business-sponsored, public-policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. The Council proactively advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. Founded in 1945, the Bay Area Council is widely respected by elected officials, policy makers and other civic leaders as the voice of Bay Area business. Today, approximately 275 of the largest employers in the region support the Bay Area Council and offer their CEO or top executive as a member. Our members employ more than 4.43 million workers and have revenues of $1.94 trillion, worldwide. Learn more at bayareacouncil.org.
About the Silicon Valley Leadership Group
The Leadership Group, founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, represents more than 400 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers on issues, programs and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley, including education, energy, environment, health, housing, tax policies, tech and innovation and transportation. Leadership Group members collectively provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley and contribute more than $3 trillion to the worldwide economy. For more information, visit svlg.org.