Are You Mad As Hell Yet? Or Have You Given Up?
For many months (years!), the ECA and its strategic allies have been espousing that when Bond Measure 1a expires (which it did ), our infrastructure will need some serious dollars to slow down the deterioration of our public works projects built mostly in the 1950’s following WW2. Instead of allocating more money, the State took away hundreds of millions of dollars in the early 2000’s from infrastructure funding and gave it to many things, not the least of which was to bolster the pension funding the State is committed to. Teachers, prison guards, government workers, etc. etc. Meanwhile, local Counties and Cities saw the writing on the wall and became ‘self-help” districts and taxed themselves so they could drive within their jurisdictions without bouncing their heads off the ceiling of the vehicle when the hit a pothole.
So yesterday’s headline in the Press Democrat, which discusses the potential loss of funding for Highway 101 and other road projects due to the falling revenue from our antiquated fuel excise tax, further illustrates the need for urgency. This is not new news nor just local news-it is old news and it is all over California news. Look at the proposed cuts in funding State wide in the attached link–
Not new news, yet, last week, I sat in on a conference call from Fix Our Roads and lobbyists discussing the funding problem status of proposed “fixes” and what our electeds are proposing, and the conversation went something like this: “I have spoken to the top elected leaders in the state and they are absolutely at a standstill in pushing any new bill through because this is an election year”.
If it is an election year, one would think that those of us that are pissed off are writing to these electeds and telling them if they want our vote so they can stay in office, or attain office, they better push for new funding for roads and bridges NOW!
There are three decent bills sitting in committee at the State level. One by Beall. One by Frazier. One by Governor Brown. I have written about these before. Each one is worthy and different at the same time. They all promote some restructuring of the fuel excise tax, they all promote some fees from registering motorized vehicles (this to even out the new hybrids and electric vehicle usage of our infrastructure who otherwise would not contribute to the infrastructure funding needs because they do not buy petroleum fuels), and some other funding sources. But none of the bills are moving forward.
Our electeds are not doing their jobs. We have to exert some effort to shine a light on their reluctance to deal with a problem that is decades old. We are heading for a fiscal cliff due to a lack of funding for transportation and all of us in the industry know if you put off maintenance, the outcome is to have to rebuild and the cost of rebuilding is way more than maintenance. I urge you, I implore you, I yell at you, and I ask you, please consider writing an email to your elected leaders to tell them to get off their butts and pass a bill immediately!
The best source I have found is “Fix Our Roads”. website
All the information you need to get involved is on their site. If you need me to write something for you, and send it to you personally, I will do so. But we need all of our ECA members to step up and write to our State legislators to get them moving!
Help be a part of the solution!
That’s all folks-
Two or so weeks ago, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board hosted a big meeting about the State of the County Economics and had their key speaker from UCLA’s Anderson group come in to tell everyone how wonderful everything is. Not to “rain on anyone’s parade”, but I wonder if the real story is being told about the state of businesses in Marin and Sonoma Counties?
With this in mind, I have asked John to try and organize a “State of Businesses” meeting for Sonoma and maybe contiguous Counties to attend. The idea is to hear about what the key issues of the day are actually doing for and to our local business owners. Let’s hear about the projects that are not moving forward due to regulatory issues. How about businesses trying to hire additional workforce staff and what are they encountering? Is it so expensive here that qualified young people are going elsewhere? So expensive that qualified incoming workers are not coming here? Or is it so competitive that companies just refuse to pay the higher salaries and “do without” for the time being?
John is already working with his counterparts at other Associations and hopefully this will develop into an annual event that we might see around April of this year.
Thanks-let me know what you think!