Proposition 42: Two points of view
These articles appeard in the March 2002 edition of TRANSFER, the Rescue Muni newsletter. Since the election is coming up shortly, they are posted here as well.
Rescue Muni recently voted to oppose state Proposition 42. However, opinions on this proposition are still divided among transit advocates. Below, a BART board member and a Rescue Muni steering committee member share their opinions on this proposition.
NO: Roy Nakadegawa
Is transportation the public's highest priority? Our regional transportation agency MTC's poll (3% accuracy) indicates the most important public issues, surprisingly, was not "Transportation and Congestion". It came out several places below "Spending Public Funds Wisely" and "Improving Education". The present Gasoline Sales Tax goes into the general fund and is spent for Education, Health, Transportation, etc. So, presently these funds are being spent in keeping with the people's concern rather than only for transportation as Proposition 42 proposes.
Regional Transportation Agencies realize there is little they can do with highways to relieve congestion, so they are shifting funds to transit and other alternatives in their Plans -- some over 65%. However Proposition 42 permanently allocates Gasoline Sales Tax for roads 80% and transit 20%. To increase beyond 20% for transit and alternatives will require a 2/3 state-wide vote of legislators.
A Gas Tax rather than a Sales Tax should provide transportation funding. In today's dollars the Gas Tax is taking in less than 30 years ago. Transportation funding should be increased in keeping with the consumer price index. Other developed countries charge at least $3 per gallon for gasoline. This $3 includes $2 in Gas Tax, which keeps their highways in good condition as well as providing decent alternatives.
With the State's current $12 billion deficit, let us not siphon off general fund monies into a special transportation fund allocating only 20% for transit permanently at the expense of other important funding categories.
YES: Daniel Krause
I am a member of the Steering Committee for Rescue Muni. Recently the Steering Committee voted to not support Proposition 42, a state measure which will redirect some gas tax revenue from the general fund to transporation projects exclusively. In my view, Rescue Muni members should support Prop 42. I believe when the steering committee voted on prop. 42, there was confusion over how the pots of money could be used. But now it is becoming more clear that prop 42 will likely benefit transit in the Bay Area tremendously.
The funding break out of prop 42 is as follows:
1) 40% for local roads (fixing pot holes, etc).
2) 40% for capital projects (highways or transit)
3) 20% for transit (operations & capital projects)
The 40% for capital projects was previously thought to be exclusively for roads, therefore we could not support it. But in fact, regions have the option to choose how to spend these capital funds. If people want roads, they get roads. But the Bay Area has shown an overwhelming commitment to funding transit in recent years over new highways. Therefore, it is likely that much of the prop 42 money will go to transit as long as advocates like ourselves stay vigilant. Bottom line, the additional funds raised by Prop. 42 will enable many more transit projects to move forward.
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