Gov. Brown floats $52.4 billion infrastructure plan

Gov. Jerry Brown announced a landmark transportation investment package that, if approved by state lawmakers, will funnel billions of dollars in funding to transportation infrastructure improvements and safety.

Brown was scheduled to appear in Concord Thursday to discuss the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, which proposes investing $52.4 billion over the next decade, with the funds split equally between state and local investments.

At the local level, funds will be used to fix streets and transportation infrastructure, including road repairs, potholes, and public transit improvements. Statewide, funds will be used to improve highways, bridges and culverts, as well as reduce congestion on major commute corridors.

According to Brown, the $5 billion-a-year program will cost most drivers less than $10 a month and will be funded, in part, by a gas tax.

He said California has not increased the gas tax in 23 years, and since then the state’s population has grown by 8 million people, resulting in many more cars on the road.

Californians drive more than 350 billion miles a year, more than any other state, yet road and transit investments have not kept pace with growth.

The proposal also includes strict new accountability provisions to ensure funds can only be spent on transportation. They include a constitutional amendment to prohibit spending the funds on anything other than transportation, and a provision empowering the California Transportation Commission to hold state and local governments accountable for making the improvements they commit to delivering.

Brown said:

“California has a massive backlog of broken infrastructure that has been neglected far too long. … Fixing the roads will not get cheaper by waiting — or ignoring the problem. This is a smart plan that will improve the quality of life in California.”

On Wednesday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee endorsed the funding proposal:

“This bill reflects a landmark commitment to make responsible investments in our infrastructure. These investments will make California’s roads safer, transit systems more reliable, and communities better prepared for tomorrow.”

State lawmakers in both the Senate and the Assembly expect to vote on the measure by April 6.

Brown also announced Wednesday that he signed Assembly Bill 28, a transportation reform bill to help streamline the environmental review process for projects that he says will save costs and expedite project delivery.