A recent study put Los Angeles and San Francisco in the top five worst cities on the planet for traffic congestion. Roads and bridges around the state are literally crumbling from recent storms.  And the extra wear and tear caused by the poor condition of our roads costs the average California driver an extra $739 in vehicle operating costs every year.

Capitol Democrats’ solution to this problem is to raise gas taxes 20 cents per gallon, raise diesel taxes by 12 cents per gallon, and hike vehicle registration fees by nearly $40. The problem is that there are no assurances about how much of this money will actually go towards roads.  It is unacceptable that transportation funds that the state currently collects are being swept into the General Fund to be used for non-transportation related items.

Despite state spending increasing by $18 billion over the last 2 years alone, not one additional dime has gone towards transportation.  Capitol Democrats have made it clear that transportation infrastructure is not a priority, and the way they have raided transportation funds year after year proves that we must reevaluate our budget priorities.

Another big problem with the Democrat proposal is that despite the massive tax increase on drivers, none of that money will go towards building additional lanes on our state highways.  That means traffic congestion will continue to get worse despite the additional cost burdens on taxpayers. This is irresponsible and California deserves better from their elected representatives.

If that were not bad enough, the Democrat proposal of increasing gas taxes will disproportionally burden the working class.  Low and middle class families have been forced to live and commute longer distances due to the lack of affordable housing.  When working families pay more for transportation than any household expense besides housing, they will feel the pain of any increased costs right away.

Assembly Republicans have a responsible transportation funding proposal. The Traffic Relief and Road Improvement Act (TRRIP), AB 496, is built on three guiding principles: (1) protect the middle class—no tax or fee increases; (2) all transportation-related tax revenue should fund transportation; and (3) we must streamline road repairs.

TRRIP provides $7.8 billion for transportation improvements, without raising taxes or fees. It dedicates money that motorists are already paying (like vehicle sales taxes) to roads. Our plan also includes an aggressive program to relieve congestion. Californians spend three full days a year stuck in gridlock, which has major impact on quality of life for every commuter.   TRRIP devotes 30 percent of its funding to expanding road capacity and getting drivers out of traffic.

We also understand that extra funding will not be as effective without oversight to make sure it is spent appropriately. That’s why our plan establishes a Transportation Inspector General, adds accountability measures to Caltrans spending, and requires audits for major transportation projects. With some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country, somebody needs to keep an eye on how our transportation funds are being used.

Recent events have exposed the dire state of our transportation infrastructure after decades of neglect by Sacramento Democrats. It’s time to do something, but sticking working families with the bill for decades of fiscal mismanagement is wrong. The Assembly Republican transportation plan will give California drivers the roads they deserve and rebuild our great state.