Grow the Economy, Vote No on Prop 6 

Lucy Dunn
President and CEO of the Orange County Business Council

Economies don’t grow if goods and services can’t move. For years in California, governors and state legislatures deferred maintenance and repairs on the state’s bridges and roads. Predictably, California’s 400,000 miles of roads crumbled. Potholes proliferated. Bridges and overpasses up and down the state became unsafe. Public transit improvements lagged. Traffic became worse as highway throughput suffered.

So when SB 1 became law – putting in place a modest increase in the state’s gas tax – a new $5 billion-plus annual revenue stream was created to begin chipping away at the more than $130 billion in state highway, local street and road system projects that are years overdue.

But all these and future improvements may well grind to a halt if Proposition 6 on the November ballot repeals SB 1.

Orange County Business Council advocates for policies that help business, grow the economy, maintain a high quality of life, and in so doing, creates jobs—strongly fighting proposals that do just the opposite.

Indeed, there is no bigger threat to this county’s and California’s economy than Proposition 6, an ill-conceived attack on our roads and bridges that will make us all less safe, kill good jobs, and cause businesses small and large needless delay and expense.

California has more than 1,600 bridges and overpasses that have been found to be unsafe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there were more than 3,600 fatalities on California roads–and poor roads are a major cause of accidents.

Proposition 6 recklessly eliminates more than $5 billion in annual existing transportation funds and jeopardizes more than 6,500 bridge and road safety, transportation, and public transit improvement projects currently underway throughout California.

The vital projects Proposition 6 would eliminate include:

  • 3,727 projects fixing potholes and repaving roads;
  • 1,571 projects dedicated to improving road and driver safety;
  • 554  bridge and overpass repair and replacement projects;
  • 337 traffic congestion relief projects; and
  • 453 projects improving public transportation.

That wastes money, keeps roads and bridges in permanent disrepair, and leaves us all less safe—especially important as California needs those roads and bridges so that business can safely and efficiently move people and goods to fuel the economy.

It is predicted that California’s highways will carry $3.9 trillion worth of goods annually by 2045. Proposition 6 would eliminate badly needed investment in freight corridors, highways, and freeways, jeopardizing the ability to get goods to market. Every business leader wants her products on the shelves where customers can buy them–not sitting in a truck stuck on the I-5. California commuters also lose–to the tune of $2.6 billion every year–an unnecessary waste of time and money.

Fixing California’s roads and bridges is estimated to generate $183 billion in economic growth and 68,000 good paying jobs over the next decade. Proposition 6 eliminates that growth and those jobs, punching an unnecessary hole in the economy.

Further, it is critical to make sure that funding is actually going where it’s supposed to go. California voters took care of that last June when Proposition 69 passed with 81 percent of the vote, directing these funds only for transportation improvements and preventing the legislature and governor from diverting them for other purposes.

This pay-as-you-go, user-supported method for fixing the state’s roads and bridges is the same kind of approach taken by Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian, who understood the vital connection between safe, usable transportation infrastructure and a prosperous economy.

Orange County drives Southern California’s prosperous economy, which moves the state. In fact, Orange County is home to the second-largest workforce in California. It is for all those workers—for their time, their money, their quality of life, and most importantly, their safety—and the businesses that employ them that Orange County Business Council remains in strong support of SB 1 and urges a ‘No’ vote in November on Proposition 6.

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