Billions in new ca gas tax, $0 for roads, thieving liberals river daves place gas or electricity more expensive


The money will go to six Metropolitan Transit Authority expansion projects, including light-rail extensions to Torrance and Montclair, and additional rapid transit service along congested corridors, according to the California State Transportation Agency, which allocated the money.

The rail and transit money announcement was made on the eve of plans by Republican activists to file more than 830,000 signatures in an effort to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would repeal the 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase, 20-cent diesel fuel excise tax increase and new annual vehicle fees.

Republican activists predict the initiative will drive turnout by more conservative voters upset with the Democrats for raising the gas tax. The ballot measure drive has received significant funding from the California Republican Party and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, as well as GOP lawmakers such as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).

"The real-life ways SB 1 benefits drivers and commuters will make their own compelling case, especially where long-needed projects are already underway," said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). "Local Republican leaders around the state were an important part of the SB 1 coalition, so I’m not sure how the more radical members of the party will be reconciling that in their attacks."

This month, Los Angeles officials proposed adding 10 routes to the local, shuttle-style bus network, extending service to North Hollywood, Boyle Heights, Canoga Park, Glassell Park and other neighborhoods. Additional buses will help the agency run more evening and weekend service, and decrease wait times to less than 15 minutes during peak hours.

More than $1 billion in state grants will be matched with local tax revenue to help fund the $5.7-billion plan to extend the Gold Line to Montclair, the Green Line to Torrance, and a rapid bus route between rail stations in North Hollywood and Pasadena, among other projects.

"This is a good, broad set of projects across the county," said Michael Turner, Metro’s deputy executive officer for government relations. He said the agency strongly supports the gas tax, which he said is providing a "vital infusion" to transit, highway and road projects.

The $290 million allocated for the Gold Line will close the estimated funding gap for the $1.5-billion, six-station project from Glendora to Montclair, transportation officials said. Planners had long hoped to extend the Gold Line to Montclair, which is in San Bernardino County, but L.A.’s sales tax revenue cannot be spent in other counties.

Another $874 million will go toward the $2-billion project to provide run-through tracks at Union Station as well as other improvements. The money will improve the frequency and performance of Metrolink services to Moorpark, Santa Clarita, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange County.

Meanwhile, the staff of the California Transportation Commission on Wednesday released recommendations for competitive grants that would use the gas tax funds for local projects that include relieving traffic in congested freeway corridors. The commission will finalize those grants in May.