For Immediate Release
August 14, 2015
Assemblymember David Chiu – Judson True, 415.606.3524; firstname.lastname@example.org
Assemblymember Kevin Mullin – Susan Kennedy, 916.319.2022; email@example.com
Coalition of Bay Area Legislators, Transit Agencies and Advocates Call for State Funding for Transit
California Legislature’s Special Session on Transportation and Infrastructure Offers Opportunity to Improve Economy and Environment with Investment in Transit
San Francisco, CA—Assemblymembers David Chiu and Kevin Mullin today joined a coalition of Bay Area transit agency officials and community and labor leaders to call for increased state transit funding to reduce traffic congestion and improve California’s economy and environment. The coalition voiced support for a package of transit funding bills introduced in the ongoing Special Session on Transportation and Infrastructure that would direct an additional $600 million annually toward maintaining and expanding California’s public transportation systems, which account for more than 1.4 billion passenger trips annually.
When Governor Jerry Brown convened the Special Session, he identified a $59 billion funding shortage over the next 10 years for the basic maintenance of state highways and bridges, and local governments have estimated that a $78 billion need exists for local roads over the same time period. The state’s transit funding backlog in the decade ahead is similarly daunting: $72 billion in maintenance and expansion needs, according to a study commissioned by the California Transit Association.
“Anyone who hits a pothole or sits in traffic knows that our transportation system is in crisis, but so does anyone who has to rely on a late, crowded bus to get to work, school or do errands, or who would take the bus if one was there,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Development Committee of the Special Session. “California needs more transit funding to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and to prevent gridlock from strangling our economic recovery.”
“We obviously have a significant problem with congestion along the Highway 101 corridor,” stated Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo). “Traffic congestion is impacting all of our lives by putting strains on business productivity as well as our personal time. Earlier this year I announced a commitment to work on this issue. To that end, increasing capacity of public transit systems must be part of the solution. I am therefore happy to support this package of bills and will urge my colleagues and the Governor to also support an increase in funding for local public transit systems.”
Legislators and advocates stressed that a balanced approach to repairing our roads and investing in mass transit projects will accomplish the state’s goals of reducing greenhouse gases, ensuring safe and well-maintained roads and bridges, and creating tens of thousands of jobs.
The package of transit bills introduced in the Special Session includes:
SBX1-7 (Sen. Ben Allen) and ABX1-8 (Asms. Chiu and Richard Bloom) Diesel Sales Tax
Increasing the diesel fuel sales tax from 1.75% to 5.25% will raise an additional $300 million for the State Transit Assistance (STA) program, which could be focused on maintaining transit systems in a state of good repair. The funding will be distributed to all transit agencies via the existing funding formula, with the San Francisco Bay Area receiving an estimated $110 million per year.
SBX1-8 (Sen. Jerry Hill) and ABX1-7 (Asm. Adrin Nazarian) Cap and Trade
Cap and Trade funding is available for public transit projects through two programs – the Low Carbon Operations Program (LCTOP) and the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP). Both bills adjust the funding percentage of these two programs. TIRCP would increase from 10% to 20%, resulting in an additional $200 million per year. LCTOP would increase from 5% to 10%, resulting in additional $100 million per year for the program. This $300 million increase would double the existing funding for local mass transit projects.
Legislators and transit supporters in Los Angeles also held a press conference on Friday, echoing the call for transit funding made by the San Francisco Bay Area coalition.
The Special Session will resume when the California Legislature returns from summer recess on Monday, August 17. The Legislature is scheduled to finish this year’s session on Friday, September 11.
Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly and represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses the eastern portion of San Francisco.
Assemblymember Kevin Mullin represents the 22nd Assembly District and is the Speaker pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He chairs the Select Committee on Biotechnology and serves on the following committees: Budget, Budget Subcommittee #4 on State Administration, Business and Professions, Local Government, Utilities & Commerce, and Revenue and Taxation. The 22nd district includes the cities of Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, portions of South San Francisco and the San Mateo County Coastside communities of Montara and Moss Beach.
Voices for Transit Funding
“Cities across California are facing a transportation infrastructure funding crisis, which is why in San Francisco, voters recently passed a $500 general obligation bond to fund critical transportation infrastructure improvements. However, as the mayor of a large growing city, I am also keenly aware of the pressing need to increase investments in operating public transit, which serves as an affordable and efficient alternative to automobile travel for millions of Californians, and faces a $39 billion statewide shortfall in deferred maintenance costs. I applaud Assemblymembers Chiu and Mullin and the other leaders in Sacramento for thoughtfully seeking to address this critical issue, and I offer my full support to their efforts that invest in our cities and our residents in this Special Session.” –San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
“More Californians than ever want new, better transit options. Public transit not only gets people to work, it puts people to work by creating jobs and stimulating local economies. Transit riders help reduce traffic congestion and subsequently travel times for all. It benefits even those who never use it We thank the legislators who introduced these bold measures – they know with better public transit comes better quality of life for riders, non-riders, community stakeholders, businesses, and the public at-large. That’s why we believe that public transit is beyond discretionary, that it is essential.” —Donna DeMartino, General Manager/CEO, San Joaquin Regional Transit District and Chair, California Transit Association
“We fully support the need to increase revenue to address California’s transportation infrastructure crisis. We need to fix our highways and roads for our state to remain great. Our members also know that investments in transit maintenance and expansion create quality jobs, and better transit will improve the lives of all Californians.” —Michael Theriault, Secretary-Treasurer, San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
“Millennials are riding transit in growing numbers and we need to give them the improvements they need to keep them off the roads for years to come. In the Bay Area that means modernizing and improving aging systems such as Caltrain to keep up with the demand for expanded services and providing more environmentally-friendly buses and rail cars.” —Redwood City Mayor Jeff Gee, Member, SamTrans and Caltrain Boards of Directors
“Last fall San Franciscans voted to increase funding for transit, but riders know that we are still woefully short of where we need to be to have a truly world-class transit system. State transit funding is critical to getting us there.” —Thea Selby, Chair, San Francisco Transit Riders, a rider-based grassroots advocacy organization
“Stanford University supports state funding for the electrification of Caltrain due to the importance of this project in meeting anticipated ridership growth. Just as the Southern Pacific rail line was the primary link to Stanford over 120 years ago, an electrified Caltrain will be a vital link to the campus and help support it in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way.” —Jean McCown, Assistant Vice President and Director of Community Relations, Stanford University
“The SFMTA is fundamentally aware of the need to invest in all aspects of transportation. The current special session announced by Governor Brown and the Legislature provides us with an important opportunity that we cannot miss. Now is the time to join in partnership with the state to reinvest in urban roadways and public transit systems.” —Cheryl Brinkman, Vice Chair, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors.
“I support the urgent need to enact a transportation funding package that addresses maintenance needs of our state highways and local streets and roads, but any package needs to also increase State Transit Assistance funding in order to improve the mobility of everyone, particularly those who are transit dependent.” —AC Transit Board President Christian Peeples
“The Governor’s call for a special legislative session can be a great opportunity for needed action on the state’s broad transportation infrastructure. Let’s face it — better roads enhance transit bus trips and provide greater access to other public transit modes. AND, public transit helps reduce congestion on our highways and protects taxpayers’ investments by getting drivers off our roads.” —BART Director Zakhary Mallett, representing portions of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties
“Transit is vital for some of the most vulnerable users of our transportation system — our children. As we see massive cuts to school buses, many urban children rely upon transit to get to and from school. These bills provide additional funds to ensure our transit systems reduce congestion on the roads and meet the needs of our children.” —Chanell Fletcher, Senior California Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership
“It certainly is wise for lawmakers in Sacramento to be focused on the huge funding gaps that exist for fixing our highways, streets and roads. However, public transit also must be part of the conversation. While the Legislature did carve out a portion of cap-and-trade dollars for public transit last year, that action is only a first step. Given the billions needed to rebuild, modernize and expand California’s public transit systems, cap-and-trade alone is not the answer. Other ways to invest in public transit must be found.” –Perry Woodward, Chairperson, Board of Directors, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
“Muni, BART and Caltrain carry over 1.1 million passengers a day, making a huge contribution to our region’s livability and economy. But with a $17 billion maintenance backlog here in the Bay Area, our under-investment in transit is starting to erode the reliability of our core systems. We need the legislature to help fund our state’s whole transportation system, including transit, to keep our state vibrant, affordable and competitive for generations to come.” – Tilly Chang, Executive Director, San Francisco County Transportation Authority