Brown offers infrastructure compromise plan

Road constructionShifting gears from a public hands-off approach, Brown gave California lawmakers his own take on how to reach an agreement over new infrastructure spending.

Brown’s proposal would impose $65 fees on drivers each year “and higher gas taxes to fund a $3.6 billion makeover for the state’s roads, bridges and highways,” as the San Francisco Business Times noted. “It plans to raise taxes on gas by 6 cents per gallon and 11 cents per gallon for diesel,” for an increase of some $1 billion in revenues:

“The increases will be based on the Consumer Price Index and will take $100 million out of the Department of Transportation’s budget. It also will look for $500 million from cap-and-trade revenue. […] Brown is hoping that will add up to $3.6 billion, with $1.6 billion slated for state highway improvements and $200 million doled out for improved trade corridors.”

The effort typified Brown’s approach to governance in his final term in office, working to strike a careful but forceful balance between restive Democrats to his left and enterprising Republicans to his right, eager for any opportunity to flex some political muscle. In a statement, spokesman Gareth Lacy underscored Brown’s hopes for another success threading the needle. “The administration’s proposal was put forth after engaging with Democrats, Republicans and lots of people who are concerned about adequate funding for our crumbling roads and highways,” he said, the Associated Press related. “It includes sensible reforms and sufficient revenue to improve our roads, bridges, public transit and trade corridors – all vital to boosting quality-of-life and economic competitiveness.”

Party politics

Seizing the opportunity to make a stand on principle, Sacramento Republicans immediately cast doubt on the plan’s future. “Brown gave the plan to Republicans on Thursday, but despite incorporating some of their proposals, the plan appeared unlikely to peel off Republican votes that would be required to boost taxes,” the Sacramento Bee reported. “The minority party has vowed to reject tax increases given California’s brimming budget, and party leaders in the Senate and the Assembly released statements on Thursday saying Brown’s call for increased taxes and a road user fee made his plan unsupportable.”

To Brown’s left, an adequate degree of support also seemed to be wanting. “While transportation, business and transit advocacy groups responded enthusiastically to the proposal, the Democratic governor did not appear to have secured the votes needed for a two-thirds majority in each house of the state Legislature, even from Democrats,” AP noted.

Yet Brown’s camp likely expected an initial wave of resistance among the contending parties in the Legislature. Both have a stake in sticking to their guns, and both have some room to negotiate going forward. Republicans, especially, faced sweeteners in the form of $500 million drawn each year from California’s cap-and-trade revenues, plus $100 million from so-called “efficiencies” to be found in Caltrans — “which Republicans have criticized as bloated and overstaffed,” according to the Bee.

Increasing urgency

But the degree of urgency surrounding a deal was set only to ratchet upward. Brown had patiently remained above the fray until this month. As late as August 19, Brown stubbornly — if wryly — refused to reveal any details about how, if at all, he intended to present the parties with a proposal. “I’m not going to put all my cards on the table,” he told a gaggle of reporters. “As a brooding omnipresence, I stand above the fray here.”

His decision to intervene now reflected a growing sense among political observers that, without some kind of nudge, lawmakers would be unable to arrive at a solution to California’s mounting infrastructure challenges. “Caltrans has deferred $59 billion worth of highway and bridge repairs. Cities and counties face an even bigger bill, needing $78 billion to return local streets to good condition. And the cost of fixing the roadways increases each year as pavement deteriorates and simple repairs turn into more expensive reconstruction projects,” the Los Angeles Times editorial board warned, opining in favor of Brown’s proposal.

16 comments

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  1. Colonel Bill Kilgore
    Colonel Bill Kilgore 9 September, 2015, 11:08

    Old Brownie’s going for higher taxes…good for him.

    Tax’em good and hard, Brownie, then tax’em again. (And you will when the AB32 tax automatically goes up next year and then there’s SB350.)

    Tax’em to the stone age, son!

    Tax the shiite outta ’em.

    But don’t take any money from Brownie’s choo-choo to nowhere.

    I love the smell of tax increases in the morning.

    Reply this comment
  2. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 9 September, 2015, 12:31

    How about a $65 Hot Air Tax to be paid by all the eco-freaks and their supporters Al Gore,Luarie David and John Travolta and a few others

    Reply this comment
    • bob
      bob 9 September, 2015, 17:34

      Does Ravolta still own a fleet of jets that he tools around in? I love the pols and celebs…how they talk down to the peasants and tell them they MUST reduce their “carbon footprint.”

      Reply this comment
  3. Art
    Art 9 September, 2015, 12:54

    Lower it down to 4 cents a gallon and increase the revenue from cap and trade.

    Reply this comment
  4. bob
    bob 9 September, 2015, 13:00

    The Demonrats sure are pushing hard for another gas tax increase.

    This after we already had a ten cent a gallon tax increase this year thanks to AB32 and it will automatically increase again next year.

    Colliefornia already has the highest gas tax in the country when you factor in the AB32 tax.

    Yet Colliefornia has the worst roads.

    And Colliefornians are going to let the Demonrats steal even more money through another gas tax increase…SUCKERS!

    The rest of the country is laughing at you. In St. Louis they have better roads and highways and gas is 1.81 a gallon. SUCKERS!

    Reply this comment
  5. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 9 September, 2015, 13:03

    I don’t read this website much anymore since there is no point in knowing what happens in a state where sane, ethical and intelligent people have no political influence. But I do have some curiosity about this site.

    Does anyone wonder who the publisher/owner of this site is?

    Does anyone wonder who moderates the comment section?

    Does anyone wonder who the “editors” of this site are?

    Why is it so difficult to find out anything about these issues from perusing this strangely opaque website. It’s almost as if they have some terrible, dark secret to hide.

    Is there some webpage that answers all of these questions that I just haven’t found?

    Inquiring minds want to know 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • Ulysses Uhaul
      Ulysses Uhaul 9 September, 2015, 16:26

      Dysfunctionee,

      It is curious thread participation is very low since they changed the web site format. There are fewer insane tome doomers. No one who posts seems to get personally insulted by article writers anymore. Monarchy does limit behavior…too busy curtsying and hand kissing the same old rulers. Maybe some of quacks followed Desmond’s lead and died from depression…..who knows……something smells…huh?

      Reply this comment
    • Teddy
      Teddy 12 September, 2015, 08:35

      Poor Dysphoric–She has no idea that this site is “owned” (sic) by the Tri-Lateral Commission ™

      Shuffle back to your Trump owned cubicle little buddy!

      Reply this comment
  6. ricky65
    ricky65 9 September, 2015, 14:10

    Screw you, Jerry.
    First give the back the nearly one billion dollars in truck weight fees siphoned from the highway fund every year to the general fund.
    Next give back the entire sales tax on diesel worth 620 million which is siphoned off for mass transit projects.
    Then there was the infamous 2010 gas tax swap. This scam allowed excise taxes on gas to be swapped to sales tax which could then be transferred out of the dedicated highway fund to the general fund to be used as a slush fund for D-Rat pols in Sacto for their favorite groups.
    Then of course, there is the current cap and trade tax on transportation fuels which adds between 13 to 20 cents per gallon to the price per gallon and will grow exponentially every year as the supply of so called ‘credits’ is reduced artificially every year by the state ARB criminal cartel eco-Nazis.
    Californians already pay the highest taxes on gasoline averaging 42 cents per gallon. This is 40% higher than the average of the other states and not including cap& trade taxes.

    Return all the stolen money from the highway fund and the roads will be fixed without more taxes. And any Republican who votes for higher taxes for roads is a traitor and will be voted out of office.
    Here’s a link to the eye opening article in a brief moment of lucidity by the LA times on highway spending:http://www.latimes.com/opinion

    Reply this comment
  7. desmond
    desmond 10 September, 2015, 04:28

    One of every four to five cars around us are either uninsured, unregistered or driven by an unlicensed driver. Moral. Break every law you can get away from with. If you suspect someone is illegal, steal something from them. Siphoning gas from an illegal’s car is good fun. Paying with a counterfeit 20 at a illegal carwash fundraiser. Americans have always been get it done people. Do your part.

    Reply this comment
  8. desmond
    desmond 10 September, 2015, 20:02

    Other fun ways to annoy the uninsured, etc. Drivers.
    Steal bras hanging on the clothesline. They have nice resale with 12 year old boys. Used to be 14 but they get now their way with the girls whose bras are drying. I guess that is progress, particularly if you are 14 and the bra fits a 36 DD.
    Steal wallets left on their car seats. Be Christian. Put the money back Each wallet has Ids for 25 different peple. Great street value.
    Finally, steal Halloween lawn ornaments. You will be a honorary Frat member at your closest college.
    Steal something from an illegal. It is the right thing to do. God Bless America

    Reply this comment

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