Proposition 1B: The Transportation Bond

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It can get pretty crowded driving through Placerville during rush-hour.

"The traffic here can back up to three miles, trying to get into town.”

That’s why Sam McClellan, an Assistant Resident Engineer with Caltrans, says they’re adding an eastbound lane on highway 50, and synchronizing the lights.  It’s the kind of project he says Prop. 1B could fund more of:

“You know, you just ride on our highways you can see how bad they are – and we need the money to fix them.”

The 20 billion dollar bond would include about 11 billion for highway and local road improvements and 4 billion for public transit.  There’s also money for air quality and port security.  Local agencies will compete for the funds.  Marian Bergeson chairs the California Transportation Commission, which would decide who gets what.  She says they’ll be looking at the big picture:

“Because the state has to connect.  You can’t just push a problem to another bottleneck down the road, which often times happen.  You fix 6 lanes of freeway and then it narrows down to four lanes and you have a bottleneck.”

Republican Senator Tom McClintock – who’s also running for Lieutenant Governor – says he doesn’t question the need for road improvements, but in a debate aired on KPIX-TV, he argued bonds aren’t the best way to pay for them:

“Now we need to do maintenance, we need equipment, we need port security and we need air pollution programs, but we should not be putting those on a 30-year tab.”

The state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst estimates the 20 billion dollar bond will cost the state close to 40 billion once interest is factored in.