Earlier this month, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego made a bold proposal – add another vehicle fee to the books. Californians typically punish their elected officials for tampering with their vehicle fees. Just ask former Governor Gray Davis, whose tripling of the vehicle license fee became a central argument for his eventual recall. But unlike Davis’s budget Hail Mary, Speaker Atkins’ proposal aims at fixing California’s inadequate transportation system.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), California receives a C- for the state’s transportation infrastructure “due to existing conditions and the lack of adequate funding.” Moreover, California’s low quality transportation infrastructure is contributing to the state’s poor business climate. In the 2014 CNBC America’s Top States for Business report, California ranks 24th in the nation for its transportation infrastructure, a drop of 5 spots from 2007. Overall, the ASCE recommends that California increase annual transportation funding by $10 billion for ongoing maintenance and invest almost $37 billion in upgrades and new construction.