In response to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s recommendation to fully fund the transportation trust fund instead of relying on deficit spending, the Engineering & Utility Contractors Association announced its support, with CEO Mark Breslin saying that the “commission’s transportation plan is fiscally responsible and builds on the long-established principle of ensuring only those that benefit from this system contribute to its upkeep through a user fee.
“EUCA supports this proposal because it delivers critical resources that will create jobs and facilitate economic growth in our communities.”
Additionally, the commission announced their support for a dedicated 15-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax to transportation funding, and limit spending, if necessary, to match the revenues the trust fund collects each year.
EUCA says that according to the by American Society of Civil Engineers, California faces significant transportation challenges. For example, the study grades California’s roads, bridges and highways at a D+. The study found that there are “concerns about capacity despite investment in seismic upgrades and on-going maintenance. Significant investment, estimated at $17.9 billion annually, is needed to raise California’s transportation infrastructure’s grade to a ‘B’ grade.”
Additionally, the study concluded that “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, and 29% of California’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.”
The federal motor fuels tax generates revenues that are invested in highway and public transportation improvements. This tax, however, has not been adjusted since 1993 and has lost one-third of its purchasing power over the last 17 years, Breslin says. “Our country needs Congress to focus on creating jobs and reducing the deficit,” he adds.
Breslin says that to help achieve these goals, California needs a strong transportation system in order to rebuild the economy.” “The commission’s proposal will provide job creation and deficit reduction while also rebuilding our crumbling transportation system to provide for long term U.S. competitiveness,” he says. “It’s time to get California, and our nation, moving.”
When asked about support needed from California’s representatives, Breslin says 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 California’s congressional members to support this thoughtful and vital proposal.”