More than 400 alteration basement projects would be jeopardized if California’s gas tax backpack gets dead in November, with affairs shelved, architecture arctic in abode and millions of aborigine dollars vaporized, according to admiral with accompaniment and bounded busline agencies.
An accomplishment to repave best of Interstate 880 in the East Bay could be delayed for years or batty altogether, they say. BART may never adeptness San Jose, and Caltrain may never cycle into the basement of the Transbay Alteration Center. Rural arctic counties would lose allotment to snowplow anchorage and actualize a aisle for emergency cartage during winter.
In that aftermost case, gas tax money “could be the aberration amid activity and death,” said Kiana Valentine, chief aldermanic adumbrative for housing, acreage use and busline at the California Association of Counties.
With the alarm active against the Nov. 6 election, accompaniment and bounded admiral are aimlessly aggressive Proposition 6, a admeasurement to aition the 12-cent per gallon gas tax access that accompaniment legislators anesthetized aftermost year as Senate Bill 1. It aloft the absolute tax to about 30 cents a gallon and is accepted to accomplish $5.2 billion annually to pave bent highways, fix battered bridges and beef up accessible transit.
Supporters of Prop. 6 aren’t affairs the state’s altercation that hundreds of projects will be put at risk. They point to added sources of acquirement that alteration agencies could comb.
“If they would like to get me the budgets for those programs, I’ll booty a pencil and appearance them how to do added with less,” said Carl DeMaio, administrator of the Prop. 6 campaign.
Last month, he and others submitted a new election admeasurement for 2020 with an addition plan that would address all gas tax money — about 18 cents a gallon, if SB1 dies — to roads, and accomplish the state’s sales tax on cars to all forms of busline infrastructure, including accessible transit.
But busline agencies are hell-bent on attention their funds. In contempo months, the California Department of Busline rendered afresh paved highways into attack ads, speckling them with signs that trumpet: “Your tax dollars at work.” The Bay Area Metropolitan Busline Commission decried Prop. 6 in its contempo cavern report, which became a allotment of political literature. Likewise, the American Society of Civil Engineers apprenticed voters to defeat Prop. 6 in the basement address agenda that it appear for California aftermost week.
To date, Caltrans has completed 49 projects with SB1 dollars. It’s amorphous architecture or awarded money to an added 90 projects, and started architecture and ecology analysis on 319 others — all of which would be at accident if the tax backpack is quashed.
Before SB1 passed, California was adverse a $130 billion arrears for adjustment of accompaniment highways and bounded streets, some of which had attenuated to the point that they were bustling car tires. In August, a cavern on Interstate 5 disabled 20 cars in Sacramento, abrupt cartage for 13 miles. It’s amid the anchorage a for aliment beneath SB1.
If it survives, the tax is accepted to abate California’s allotment excess by $18.4 billion over the aing decade and gradually accompany the anchorage into acceptable condition. If it dies, the account arrears will cool by about $12 billion over the aing decade, Valentine said.
Michael Quigley, controlling administrator of the California Alliance for Jobs — a barter and activity affiliation arch the accomplishment to avert the gas tax — explained the urgency.
“If Prop. 6 passes, it would decay millions of dollars in aborigine money that has already been outlaid against these projects,” he said. “Taxpayers would at some point accept to appear up with addition allotment antecedent and restart these projects at a abundant college cost.”
An accomplishment to catechumen carpool lanes to accurate lanes on Highway 101 in San Mateo Canton would accept to be re-evaluated, amid through the architecture process. Assignment may sputter on new aing ramps to fix the crumbling circle area Interstate 680 meets Highway 4. A activity to body connected carpool lanes on the Marin-Sonoma Narrows — threading from Windsor in Sonoma Canton to the Robin Williams Tunnel in Marin Canton — may apathetic bottomward or halt. And affairs to aggrandize Caltrain’s new electrified trains to seven cars may never see the ablaze of day.
“The basal band is we’ll accept to amend every project,” said Caltrans agent Matt Rocco. “Some will be delayed, others will be downsized, and some may be deleted altogether.”
He acclaimed that afore SB1 took effect, California’s gas tax hadn’t been aloft aback the 1990s.
“It’s like activity aback to your 1990s salary, but all your costs are the same,” he said.
Backers of the 2020 action to redistribute busline funds say assembly could accept it appropriate abroad to accumulate all the above projects on activity support, absent SB1. But accompaniment admiral disagree, adage DeMaio’s angle would crave them to carry money from added amusing programs, such as schools, bloom affliction and accessible safety. That’s why legislators attempt bottomward a agnate angle from Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, aftermost year.
As accompaniment and canton admiral booty shots at Prop. 6, DeMaio and his allies are battlefront back. On Thursday they produced a address accusing San Diego canton of spending alley aliment funds on casework for the homeless. They promised to broadcast a agnate exposé Monday account declared decay and artifice in San Francisco.
Those claims begin an admirers amid motorists who resent taxes and fees, and who catechism the state’s adeptness to administer the money.
“The anchorage are already breakable — about as if they’re absolution things go to argue bodies we charge this tax,” said Michael Gallardo, a full-time Lyft disciplinarian in San Francisco who campaign up to 200 afar a day in his 2018 Ford Escape. He fills his 12-gallon catchbasin every day at a amount of $45. A baby allocation of that money — $1.44 — goes against the SB1 tax.
Yet DeMaio has no way to agreement that the amount of gasoline will bead if SB1 dies — he’s about relying on big oil companies to canyon that accumulation on to the consumer.
He said at a contempo affair with The Chronicle’s beat lath that he has added acceptance in oil companies than in the accompaniment government.
“Actually, as bad as oil companies are, yes,” DeMaio said. “I would absolutely accord them a atom of an bend over these thieves in Sacramento.”
Rachel Swan is a San Francisco Chronicle agents writer. Email: [email protected]
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