Congelan Renta de Algunos Inquilinos de Caltrans

October 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

EL SERENO – Un proyecto de ley firmado el lunes por el gobernador Jerry Brown congelará la renta de algunos inquilinos que viven en propiedades de Caltrans a lo largo de la ruta de extensión propuesta de la Autopista 710 en El Sereno, el sur de Pasadena y Pasadena.

“El SB 400 proporcionará a los inquilinos de larga data un alivio financiero y la oportunidad de comprar sus casas a un precio asequible”, dijo el senador Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge. “Aunque estoy decepcionado de que no pudiéramos capturar a todos los inquilinos en este proyecto de ley con una congelación de alquileres, me complace que los más necesitados lo recibieron”.

Caltrans, durante décadas ha poseído cientos de hogares a lo largo de un camino de seis millas que iba ser una extensión de superficie de la Autopista 710. Las demandas y la oposición política retrasaron la extensión, y el plan cambió en años posteriores a una propuesta de túnel que también se considera muerta desde que la Junta de Directores de Metro retiró su apoyo en mayo.

En el 2016, Caltrans empezó a vender algunas de las más de 460 casas que posee, dando prioridad a los inquilinos que viven en ellas y pueden comprarlas a un precio justo.

El proyecto de ley evita que Caltrans aumente la renta antes de una venta para cualquier persona inscrita en el Programa de Alquiler Asequible de Caltrans, cual es disponible para personas de bajos ingresos y totaliza 123 de los inquilinos, según un informe estatal del Senado.

Lawmakers Freeze Rents for Some Caltran Tenants

October 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A bill signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown will freeze the rents of some tenants who live in Caltrans-owned properties along the proposed extension path of the 710 Freeway in El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena.

“SB 400 will provide long-standing tenants financial relief and the opportunity to purchase their homes at an affordable price,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge. “Though I’m disappointed that we could not capture every tenant in this bill with a rent freeze, I am pleased that those in the most need of help received it.”

Caltrans has for decades owned hundreds of homes along a six-mile path that was to be a surface extension of the 710 Freeway. Lawsuits and political opposition delayed the extension, and the plan shifted in later years to a tunnel proposal that is also considered dead since the Metro Board of Directors withdrew its support in May.

In 2016, Caltrans started selling some of the more than 460 homes it owns, with priority given to renters who live in them and can purchase them at a fair-market rate. The bill prevents Caltrans from raising the rent before a sale for anyone enrolled in the Caltrans Affordable Rent Program, which is
available to low-income individuals and totals 123 of the tenants, according a state Senate report.

Propiedades Sobrantes de Proyecto ‘710’ Puestas en Venta

December 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Caltrans está iniciando el proceso de venta de 42 propiedades residenciales que ha poseído durante seis décadas, anunció la agencia estatal de transporte el lunes 19 de diciembre. Las propiedes estan ubicadas a lo largo del propuesto Corredor Estatal 710 en Pasadena, en el sur de Pasadena y en el vecindario de Los Ángeles de El Sereno.

“La venta de estas propiedades…consiste en mantener nuestra promesa a la comunidad para ayudarla a crear un vecindario del que puedan estar orgullosos”, dijo Brian Kelly, Secretario de la Agencia de Transporte del Estado de California.

Las propiedades fueron adquiridas hace mucho tiempo como parte de un plan para extender la Autopista 710 desde el Bulevar Valley en Alhambra hasta la autopista 210 en Pasadena. Debido a una serie de retrasos y desafíos legales, el plan nunca llegó a un buen término, dejando a Caltrans como propietario en los años transcurridos.

Caltrans está ahora explorando otras opciones, incluyendo un túnel de dos pisos, un sistema de tren ligero o una vía de bus. Hasta ahora, la agencia ha recibido $780 millones para el proyecto 710 a través de la Medida R, el impuesto de ventas de medio centavo para proyectos de transporte aprobados por los votantes del condado en 2008. El costo de la opción del túnel se estima en casi $6 mil millones.

Las propiedades que saldrán a la venta están entre las 460 que el departamento compró – y varian en tamaño. Mansiones grandes en el sur de Pasadena estarán disponibles al igual que casas estilo “bungalows” en la zona trabajadora de El Sereno. Lotes vacíos y edificios de apartamentos también son parte del grupo, todas a lo largo del corredor propuesto pero que Caltrans dice está ahora fuera del alcance de cualquiera de los planes actuales bajo consideración.

A lo largo de los años, el departamento de transporte ha sido criticado por su manejo de las propiedades, incluyendo cobros de alquileres significativamente por debajo del mercado para viviendas más grandes. También acumuló quejas por mantenimiento inadecuado y retrasado.

Una serie de reuniones públicas se realizaron para recibir los comentarios sobre el proceso de venta, los cuales a veces ponian a los residentes contra la agencia de transporte.

Los residentes, quienes incluyian a algunos dueños previos de las propiedades o a sus herederos, así como otros inquilinos de largo tiempo, estaban en desacuerdo sobre el valor de las propiedades, así como lo que se considera asequible en términos de alquiler o el precio de venta potencial.

También discutián sobre la interpretación del acuerdo Caltrans alcanzado décadas atrás con los propietarios en relación a la disposición de las propiedades no necesarias para el plan de corredor de transporte final.

Los avisos de ofertas condicionales fueron enviados el viernes a los ocupantes actuales de las 42 propiedades residenciales que serán vendidas como parte del Programa de Ventas Asequibles. Los ocupantes junto con los antiguos propietarios serán los primeros considerados para comprar los hogares a precios reducidos. Todo, con tal que cumplan con los requisitos de ingresos de la agencia.

Una ley estatal aprobada en 1979 que promueve la adquisición de viviendas le permite a los inquilinos de bajos ingresos a comprar hogares por debajo del valor del mercado. Los inquilinos que ganan menos del 150% de la renta mediana del condado también son elegibles para el precio de venta por debajo del mercado. Los compradores potenciales tienen tres meses para notificar a Caltrans si están interesados en comprar la casa.

Las propiedades no vendidas serán ofrecidas bajo una fórmula jerárquica establecida por Caltrans, con desarrolladores de viviendas asequibles tomando la segunda opción seguida por los actuales inquilinos con mayores ingresos que se les permitiría comprar a la tasa del mercado. Los antiguos inquilinos en orden inverso de ocupación serán los siguientes en línea. Las propiedades restantes serán luego vendidos en una subasta pública.

El departamento dice que también proporcionará opciones de alquiler asequibles para los ocupantes elegibles y establecerá un fondo fiduciario para futuros programas de vivienda asequible.

“Este es un paso importante hacia el regreso de estas propiedades tanto a la comunidad como a las familias que podrán tener la oportunidad de ser propietarios por primera vez”, dijo Malcolm Dougherty, director de Caltrans.

Información de City News Service fue utilizada en este informe.

Properties Not Needed for ‘710’ Project Go Up for Sale

December 22, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Caltrans is beginning the process of selling 42 residential properties it has owned for six decades along the proposed State Route 710 Corridor in Pasadena, South Pasadena and in the Los Angeles neighborhood of El Sereno, the state transportation agency announced Monday.

“The selling of these properties — that have been owned by the state for six decades — is about keeping our promise to the community to help it create a neighborhood they can be proud of,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly.

The properties were purchased long ago as part of a plan to extend the 710 Freeway from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra to the 210 Freeway in Pasadena. Due to a series of delays and legal challenges, the plan never came to fruition, leaving Caltrans in the position of landlord in the years since.

Caltrans is now exploring other options, including a double-decker tunnel, a light rail system or a busway. The agency has so far received $780 million for the 710 project through Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects approved by county voters in 2008. The price for the tunnel option is estimated at nearly $6 billion.

The properties going up for sale are among 460 the department purchased — ranging from large mansions in tony South Pasadena to modest bungalows in working class El Sereno, empty lots and apartment buildings — along the proposed corridor but which Caltrans says are now outside the scope of any of the current plans under consideration.

The transportation department has over the years been criticized for its management of the properties, including at one time charging rents significantly below market rate for larger homes, and for piling up complaints over inadequate and delayed maintenance.

A series of public meetings were held to take comments on the sale process, which at times pitted residents against the transportation agency.

Residents, including some former owners of the properties or their heirs, as well as other long time tenants, were at odds over the value of the properties, as wells as what is considered affordable in terms of rent or the potential sales price.

They also battled over interpretation of the agreement Caltrans reached decades ago with property owners regarding the disposition of properties not needed for the final transportation corridor plan.

Notices of conditional offers were mailed Friday to the current occupants of the 42 residential properties that will be sold as part of the Affordable Sales Program. Current occupants and former owners, if they meet the agency’s income requirements, are first in line to buy the homes at discounted prices.

A state law passed in 1979 to promote homeownership allows low-income renters to buy the homes at below market value. Tenants earning less than 150% of the county median income are also eligible for the below market sale price. Prospective buyers have three months to notify Caltrans if they are interested in buying the home.

Properties not sold will be then be offered for sale under a hierarchical formula established by Caltrans, with affordable housing developers taking the second option followed by current tenants with higher incomes who would be allowed to buy at market rate. Former tenants in reversed order of occupancy would be next in line, with any unsold properties to then be sold at public auction.

The department says it will also provide affordable rental options for eligible occupants and establish a trust fund for future affordable housing programs.

“This is a major step toward returning these properties to both the community and to the families who may have a chance at being a homeowner for the first time,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Information from City News Service used in this report.

 

Breves de la Comunidad

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Este de Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Se espera otro fin de semana repleto con retrasos y congestiones del tráfico en el Este de Los Ángeles. Esto, a causa del cierre de 54 horas de la parte dirigida al norte de la Autopista 710 hacia Long Beach.

De acuerdo al Departamento de Transportación de California (Caltrans en inglés), el lado hacia el norte de la autopista cerrará entre la conexión de la Autopista 5 de Santa Ana y la 60 hacia Pomona hasta las 4 a.m. del lunes. Se espera que el proyecto de reemplazo de asfalto, con costo total de $120 millones, instale 90 paneles de concreto cada fin de semana.

El cierre ocurrirá seis veces más con la excepción de los fin de semanas de Oct. 28-31, Nov. 11-14 y Nov. 25-28.

Este de Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Un oficial del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles ha estado envuelto en dos tiroteos fatales a lo largo de dos semanas, el verano pasado de acuerdo a reportes de transmisión.

El oficial, Eden Medina, fue parte de la muerta de Omar González el 28 de julio en el Este de Los Ángeles y de nuevo el 9 de agosto en el encuentro con Jesse Romero en Boyle Heights según los reportes.

Medina disparó en contra de González, quien se dijo iba armado con una pistola semiautomática durante una pelea con los oficiales después de una persecución que acabó en el bloque 1200 de la Calle Atwood.

Medina también disparó en contra de Romero después de que el joven huyó y disparó en dirección de los oficiales durante una persecución a pie en la calle Chicago y Avenida Cesar Chávez. Ambos incidentes permanecen bajo investigación.

Montebello

(CNS)- Un accidente automovilístico involucró a tres vehículos la mañana del 16 de octubre en la Autopista 60 en Montebello. Esto causó un cierre temporal de los carriles por casi 40 minutos, pero no se reportaron heridos, según la Patrulla de Autopistas de California.

El accidente ocurrió a las 2 a.m. al este del Bulevar Paramount entre una Ford Expedition, un sedán Kia y un camión.

Echo Park

(CNS)- Un hombre murió después de ser tiroteado el 17 de octubre en Echo Park, según la policía.

El tiroteo fue reportado a las 9:31 p.m. cerca de la intersección de las Calles Mohawk y Montana. Aun se buscan a los dos hombres creídos en estar relacionados con su muerte.

Caltrans Multi-Weekend 710 Freeway Closures Start Friday

September 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A pavement-replacement project will force nine weekend-long closures of the northbound Long Beach (710) Freeway through East Los Angeles, beginning this week.

According to Caltrans, the northbound 710 will be closed between the Santa Ana (5) and Pomona (60) freeways on nine weekends for about 55 hours, from 10 p.m. Fridays until 4 a.m. Mondays.

The first scheduled closure will be this weekend, Sept. 23-26. The closure will be repeated each successive weekend, with the exception of the weekends of Oct. 7-10, Oct. 28-31, Nov. 11-14 and Nov. 25-28.

Caltrans officials urged motorists to avoid the area, and use the Harbor (110) or San Gabriel River (605) freeways as alternates.

Crews will be placing a series of concrete slabs as part of the pavement-replacement project.

According to Caltrans, crews will install as many as 90 concrete panels on the roadway each weekend, with the panels ranging in size from 14 to 47 feet wide.

The work is part of a $120 million pavement-replacement project on the 710 Freeway between the Century (105) and San Bernardino (10) freeways. The project is expected to be completed next year, according to Caltrans.

Proposed Retail Center Splits Commerce

April 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A proposal to build a retail complex that could include a big box type retail store on Washington Boulevard near the 710 Long Beach Freeway in the City of Commerce is drawing heat from a local environmental group, at the same time others in the city say the development will bring needed jobs and added revenue to the city.

Plans for the for the proposed Commerce Retail Center Project on Washington, running from the 710 Freeway to Atlantic Boulevard, and from Washington Boulevard to Sheila Street, include a 122,450-square-foot “Major Anchor” retail store, with adjoining restaurants and other retail spaces.

Lea este artículo en Español: Centro Comercial Propuesto Divide a Residentes de Commerce

It would be built on land the city is selling as required under the state’s dissolution of redevelopment agencies across the state. The city is in escrow with Gatwick Group, LLC, however, the sale is contingent on approval of the retail project.

The city’s planning commission reviewed plans for the proposed development, but last week split 2-2 on whether or not to recommend approval to the city council. One of the five commissioners recused himself due to a potential conflict of interest.

Speculation among the project’s opponents is that the project applicant, Venture Retail Group, plans to lease the site to Walmart, although no specific retailer is named in the project, only a description that describes a retail format found at many of Walmart’s larger stores.

Planning Commissioner Mike Alvarado told EGP he strongly supports the project, saying it would again make Commerce a “Model City,” a reference to the city’s motto.

“The city, as it is now, looks horrible, it is decaying,” Alvarado told EGP, explaining that revenue generated from the development would help pay for repairs to streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure put off for years.

Opponents, however, say the land is too contaminated with toxic chemicals spread by the now closed Exide battery-recycling plant in Vernon and past industrial uses. It is “irresponsible” to move forward without first creating a cleanup plan, says Mark Lopez, director of Commerce-based East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice.

The property was once home to a heavy machinery business, according to Lopez. Toxic materials, percholorethylene (PCE) and tetrachloroethylene (TCE), that could affect movement and control of the body, can be found on the site, Lopez said.

A final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Commerce Retail Center Project was released on March 3 of this year and is waiting approval. Lopez believes the review of potential environmental issues, including health hazards has been inadequate.

He says the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) hasn’t yet characterized the elevated levels of soil contamination, adding the organization does not “trust” DTSC to do an adequate oversight job given the agency’s failures in the Exide contamination issue.

DTSC however, citing its “great deal of experience and expertise overseeing the investigation and cleanup of these types of properties across the state,” told EGP in an email statement that the agency is using its “expertise to ensure the work at the Gatwick site in the City of Commerce is done properly so property is safe for its planned use.”

View of site for proposed retail development at Washington and Atlantic boulevards. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

View of site for proposed retail development at Washington and Atlantic boulevards. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

The agency said it has reviewed and evaluated the developer’s risk assessment and cleanup plans and “sent our comments back to the developer for revision,” DTSC spokesperson Sandy Nax told EGP.

“In addition, the developer has recently acquired a new land parcel within the same block from the City of Commerce. DTSC has required investigation of the subsurface soil in the new parcel and the Proponent will be conducting soil sampling soon.”

East Yards and others also say they are concerned the project could negatively impact the I-710 Corridor Project to improve an 18-mile stretch of the I-710 from Long Beach to the Pomona 60 Freeway in East Los Angeles. The goal of the 710 project is to “improve air quality/public health, improve traffic safety, modernize the freeway design” to accommodate projected growth in the area.

The project has been under review for years, and at one time contained a proposal to take upwards of 100 homes in the Ayers neighborhood to make room for the expansion. If built, the retail center would be located near the 710 Freeway where Lopez said they fought to locate the new northbound off-ramp to avoid the taking of the Ayers neighborhood.

“So part of our struggle was to redesign the project so it wouldn’t take those homes and what we did, instead of having the off-ramp [east of the freeway], it would come to the other side where they want to put the Walmart,” Lopez said, adding they know for a fact that a Walmart is slated to open on the site.

“So if they build a Walmart, who’s going to have better protections from the lawyers, Walmart or the homes?” asked Lopez.

Lauren Wonder, a spokesperson for Caltrans District 7, told EGP there is currently no project alignment for the I-710 project. Nothing has been decided, she said. “The time frame for the final environmental impact report is now early 2017.”

Until the final I-710 EIR is published, comments received and the document is finalized, any discussion of future impacts “will only be a speculation,” Commerce’s Publics Works Director Maryam Babaki told EGP.

Both Babaki and Alvarado say it could take 10 or more years to move the I-710 project, and the city can’t just wait until it does.

Alvarado said he has no problem if Walmart ultimately winds up being the anchor tenant, adding he wants a tenant that will attract more people and benefit other businesses in the area.

Commerce’s General Plan calls for service commercial, general commercial and light industrial uses in the area. A big box store, like Walmart or Target, could generate $600,000 to $800,000 in added revenue per year for the city, according to Maryam Babaki, Commerce’s director of Public Works.

Mayor Ivan Altamirano told EGP he hasn’t decided whether to support the project, saying, “this is not a decision to be taken lightly.”

“I want to know all the players and pieces of this project and quite frankly I don’t believe all of that information has been disclosed,” he said.

“Our community is actually divided on this project. It seems like everyone in the city is already calling this project Walmart except for the developers.”

Altamirano said several factors must be taken in consideration, such as the impact on traffic and the number of good paying jobs it will bring for residents. We also have to look at crime in the area, and whether there are enough sheriff deputies to patrol the area, he told EGP.

Alvarado told EGP the city is already working on traffic improvements in the area, including the widening of Washington Boulevard. The opponents are “a group of people that want to hold back progress of the community,” he said. He and others believe the real issue is opposition to Walmart.

East Yards calls Walmart’s employment track record “problematic,” claiming company workers earn low-wages and work too few hours to qualify for benefits, and has closed up stores with little notice to employees.

Alvarado doesn’t buy the argument, and points out that that other businesses in the area, including at the Citadel, only pay their employees the minimum wage and “nobody complains.”

A date has yet to be set for the project to go before the full city council for review, but it is likely to be within the next few weeks, said Alvarado.

Altamirano said that he will not be rushed into making a decision that will have such a significant impact on the community.

“Once all the information is provided then we can move forward on what is best for the residents of Commerce,” the mayor said.

“Those that don’t want a Walmart are rightfully concerned about the negative effects Walmart has historically had on communities. Those that are in favor of the project I believe really just want a shopping option, Walmart or not.”

—-

Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

galvarez@egpnews.com

Drivers Have A Role In Arroyo Seco Parkway Safety

February 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Arroyo Seco Parkway or State Route 110 is hailed as the first freeway of the west and a vital artery that connects Los Angeles to Pasadena. Despite being seen as an engineering feat in the 1940’s, today its design is considered outdated, and to many, a winding series of safety hazards.
“We have to understand that when it was built, cars were not going that fast. Old Model T’s would usually get up to 30 mph at the max,” said Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents some of the communities adjacent to Arroyo Seco Parkway.

The safety concerns experienced today can be seen at hairpin exits like the one at Avenue 43, which inspired a group of local residents to start a petition drive in December 2014 to urge Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leòn to secure state funding for Caltrans — the state agency charged with maintaining freeways and highways — to make improvements and add more exits to the parkway to make it safer.

“I know there are concerns about it and heard about it at different meetings,” acknowledges Cedillo, who adds that management of the parkway is not the city of Los Angeles’ responsibility, but the state’s.

“I’ve taken these concerns to the  senator [Kevin de Leon] who is very powerful and can have an impact and influence on those matters.” Cedillo told EGP.

There has been some action by Caltrans to make the Arroyo Seco Parkway a safer place to drive. In 2012, Caltrans released the Arroyo Seco Corridor Partnership Plan, which among other things included the goal of preserving the parkway’s historical value and usefulness to the surrounding communities while making it safer.

Four years later, safety issues remain, prompting Cedillo to say more needs to be done to figure out “what mitigations can be implemented” to improve safety, and “how it relates to the important arteries that bring people into the city.”

He points out, however, that design changes alone to make the Arroyo Seco Parkway more suited to handle modern day traffic will not make the parkway accident free; motorists also need to take it upon themselves to be safe.

“Driving a two-ton vehicle is inherently dangerous. That’s why there’s rules and regulations like seatbelts and not driving under the influence,” Cedillo said.

“We have a very skilled department of transportation that works with Caltrans and the LAPD, but so much of the safety is dependent on the people. We can make all the rules and regulations, but if people don’t comply, particularly when it’s raining and people don’t pay attention to what they’re doing, that’s where accidents happen.”

“I was talking about this with the LAPD [Los Angeles Police Department],” he said, “when people use their cellphones it takes their focus away from the road.”

The councilman recommends people try to drive less in rainy weather and not rely so heavily on cellphone and navigation apps to get them where they are going.

“We have bad cultural practices in our community that makes us lazier and we need to exercise more self help and responsibility,” he said. He noted that many accidents can be attributed to “poor decision making” by motorists and pedestrians, and cited crossing the street in the middle of the block instead of at a crosswalk that might just be a few feet away, or texting or talking on a cellphone while driving as examples of bad behavior.

So while many of the problems experienced on the Arroyo Seco Parkway can be blamed on its outdated design, which many residents argue must change, the effort to make the Arroyo Seco Parkway a safer place for everyone will require cooperation from both residents, the city, and the state to make a real difference.

Martin Baeza is a senior at Academia Avance Charter School in Highland Park, He is interning at Eastern Group Publications as part of the school’s “Work Educational Experience Project.”

Caltrans 710 Land Sales Comment Period Ending Soon

August 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The comment period for Caltrans revised proposed Affordable Sales Program regulations end Aug, 14 at 5p.m., the transportation agency is reminding interested stakeholders.

The regulations will provide guidelines for the sale of “excess properties” along the State Route 710 corridor that are no longer needed for the transportation project, according to Caltrans.

Many of the properties are located in El Sereno, Pasadena and other cities between the terminus of the I-710 on Valley Boulevard and the 210 Freeway.

Caltrans has owned the properties for decades, renting some back to the former homeowners and others to some long time tenants.

Many current tenants have expressed interest in buying their home, and are looking to Caltrans to approve a sales process that will allow them to do so at an affordable price.

Many of the homes are in serious disrepair, according to some tenants.

The proposed regulations are posted in the California Regulatory Notice Register and on Caltrans’ web site: http://www.dot.ca.gov/regulations.htm .

Once completed, final regulations will be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law for approval. Some of the proposed revisions include:

—Clarified rules for renting a property purchased at an affordable price;

—Detail on types of documents accepted to prove income, tenure, interests and intents;

—Clarification on California Transportation Commission approval of contracts.

Comments can be mailed (Affordable Sales Program, 1120 N Street, MS 37, Sacramento, CA 95814), faxed (916.654.6378) or e-mailed (Affordable_Sales_Program@dot.ca.gov).

 

For questions about the regulations: (916) 654-4790. Spanish hotline: (213) 897-8184.

 

State & Feds Must Address Transportation Funding Crisis

July 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Federal Highway Trust Fund will expire on July 31 and California’s highways are falling apart. The businesses and residents of California are angry and frustrated by the lack of focus on transportation at both the State and Federal level. Tax revenue is growing in Washington DC and Sacramento but none of that new revenue is going to transportation.

Transportation funding at both the State and Federal level is largely dependent on a per gallon gasoline tax that has been stagnant for years because the tax per gallon has not been increased at the State or Federal level for decades and the development of more fuel efficient cars has lowered the per mile revenue from every vehicle on the road. This has been welcome news for drivers and a major blow to the funding needed to maintain the quality of our transportation infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called a special session on transportation funding and the first hearing was held on June 2. It makes sense for the state to use some of its new general fund revenue for transportation improvements and to add to that funding pool an increase in other revenue sources that are directly related to the drivers that use our streets and highways.

In Congress, the Senate has made some progress on a bi-partisan bill to authorize a new Surface Transportation bill, but revenue to grow the Highway Trust Fund was not part of the proposal. The House has been less aggressive and seems content to vote for another five month extension.

Funding for transportation infrastructure is not an easy problem to solve, but it must be addressed if America is to efficiently move its people and products. Both our quality of life and our economy are at risk. Yes, it will cost money. Money that I believe businesses and residents are willing to pay if they see results in the quality and efficiency of their transportation networks.

Building a transportation network that meets the needs of a growing economy and the challenges of an aging infrastructure requires money and each of us must be prepared to pay for a portion of that cost. We also have the right to demand that more of the tax dollars we are already paying should be earmarked for transportation. I hope you will join me in sending that message to Congress and to our State Legislature. Traffic and potholes are not getting better as we wait.

And that’s The Business Perspective.

 

The Business Perspective is a weekly column by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Public Policy staff.

 

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