SCCA Supports Plan To Reduce Deficit/Strengthen Transportation Net

The Southern California Contractors Association is disappointed that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform failed to reach a mandatory super-majority vote required to support a comprehensive plan to address the nation’s runaway deficit and upgrade our critical transportation infrastructure. The plan did receive a bi-partisan majority, but not 14 of 18 member-support required to send it directly to Congress for enactment, so it is now up to the nation’s political leadership to adopt the recommendations of the Commission.

Among the deficit reduction plans put forward by the commission is a program to raise the motor fuels tax by 15-cents and stop funding transportation needs by increasing the deficit in the general fund.  This fiscally responsible plan builds on the long-established principle only those who benefit from our national road system contributes to its upkeep through this user fee.

“SCCA supports this proposal because it delivers critical resources that will create jobs and facilitate economic growth in our industry, communities and our beleaguered state,” said Curtis Farrow, president of the all-union signatory contractors group. “The state of California faces significant deficit and transportation challenges of its own and the only way out is to increase private employment. Our industry is still facing 40 percent unemployment in our 12-county area.”

“This is not just about construction jobs, however, since the cost of California’s increasingly deficient transportation system affects everyone’s job and prospects for growth of the state economy,” Farrow added.

“We know it will take political courage to raise the federal motor fuels tax which generates revenues that are invested in highway and public transportation improvements,” Farrow said. “This user fee has not been adjusted since 1993 and has lost one-third of its purchasing power over the last 17 years due to inflation in construction costs and we know more inflation is on the way.”

“Our country needs Congress to focus on creating jobs and reducing the deficit,” Farrow said. “California needs a strong transportation system in order to rebuild our economy.  The Commission’s proposal will provide job creation and deficit reduction while also rebuilding our crumbling transportation system to provide for long-term competitiveness for our local communities, our state and our nation.”

The Commission’s plan makes the tough choices and identifies critical priorities that will help get our nation’s economic and fiscal house in order.  We urge our entire Congressional delegation to support this thoughtful proposal.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives California a D+ on Transportation Infrastructure

From the ASCE Report Cards (Federal, State and Local) www.infrastructurereportcard.org

“Highways, local roadways, and bridges are some of California’s most valuable assets. Additionally the State’s mass transportation systems and transit systems are multi-modal systems that provide alternatives to private cars. The overall grade of D+ reflects concerns about capacity despite investment in seismic upgrades, and on-going maintenance. Significant investment, estimated at 17.9 billion dollars annually, is needed to raise our Transportation infrastructure’s grade to a “B” Grade.” 66% of California’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on roads in need of repair costs California motorists – $586 each. 68% of California’s major urban highways are congested.

FREIGHT: 68% of the $924 billion worth of commodities delivered annually from sites in California is transported by trucks on the state’s highways.

BRIDGES: 29% of California’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

The Road Information Program (TRIP) says California has five of the top ten worst urban road networks

From The Road Information Project (TRIP) www.tripnet.org

Top 10 Worst Cities in America
with highest percentage of pavement in poor condition.
Percent Roads in Poor Condition Average Annual cost to motorists*
Los Angeles 64% $2400
San Jose 61% $2,020
San Francisco-Oakland 61% $2,032
Honolulu 61%
Concord 54% $2,000
New York – Newark 54%
San Diego 53% $2,050
New Orleans 49%
Tulsa 47%
Palm Springs-Indio 47% $2,100

* Due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays.

Despite recent gains in transportation funding through the stimulus program, the state still faces an annual highway transportation funding shortfall of approximately $4 billion just to stay even with the deterioration in our roads.  This does not count increasing capacity to reduce congestion, nor does it deal with the $6.9 billion annual shortfall in funds needed to improve and expand the state’s public transit system.

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