Repealing the state’s new gas tax will strike a serious blow to hundreds of projects in the county aimed at improving traffic congestion and transportation, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday.
Garcetti was joined by engineers, firefighters, construction workers, business groups and others at a news conference at a Metro rail station in Westchester he said would be delayed by three to five years if Proposition 6 passes in November. The measure would cancel a 12-cent a gallon gas tax, a 20-cents-a-gallon increase on diesel fuel, and some new vehicle registration fees.
“Thanks to the voters of L.A. County who approved Measure M, we’re on the cusp of finally connecting LAX to rail. Prop 6 would undo those plans,” Garcetti said. “I’m urging everyone I meet to vote no on Prop 6 because it would cripple 900 L.A. County projects to ease congestion, fix local roads and improve safety and would put 68,000 Californians out of work. It’s a no-brainer.”
The gas tax was narrowly passed by the state Legislature and became active in November 2017. It is expected to raise $5.5 billion annually for transportation and maintenance projects across the state.
Repealing the tax has been a cornerstone of Republican John Cox’s campaign for governor and is supported by a number of other Republican leaders in the state. They argue the tax costs a family of four more than $500 a year and is a regressive tax that hits working families and the poor much harder than the wealthy.
“The last thing in the world we should be doing is eliminating road safety and infrastructure projects. But that’s exactly what Prop. 6 will do,” said Skip Carter, former deputy commissioner of the California Highway Patrol. “It will have a hugely negative and local impact — making our roads and bridges less safe, more deteriorated and more congested.”
Garcetti and the other leaders said repealing Prop 6 would eliminate hundreds of projects, including:
— the repaving of 205 miles of Highway 1 from the Los Angeles-Orange County line to the city of Redondo Beach;
— 112 miles of pavement improvements and repairs to guardrails and signage on I-5;
— 104 miles of pavement improvements on I-605 from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to Telegraph Road;
— a pavement preservation project on 48 lane miles and improvement of ramps on I-10 from the San Bernardino/Los Angeles County line to I-10/I-15 separation in San Bernardino County;
— resurfacing more than five miles of onramps and offramps along SR 91 near Buena Park; and
— resurfacing nearly seven miles of I-5 between I-605 and Washington Blvd. in the Los Angeles area.
“Los Angeles firefighters know exactly how critical it is to make our roads and bridges in California safer, which is why Prop 6 is an attack on public safety,” said Tony Gamboa, president of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City. “The La Tuna fire this time last year was the largest fire within Los Angeles city limits in half a century, threatening over a thousand structures and forcing hundreds to evacuate. Join me in voting no on Prop 6 — it’s a threat to public safety.”
Backers of Prop 6 say the gas tax increase lacked accountability on where the funds are spent, and charge that the measure is “specifically written to allow politicians to continue to divert all the funds away from road projects.”
They’re touting a proposed 2020 ballot initiative called the Road Repair Accountability Initiative, which they say would dedicate 100 percent of the existing gas tax to road maintenance and improvement contracts.
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