Gas tax funds are dedicated to transportation: Roadshow

Q: I was a little surprised to see your column and read that SB 1 funds are being transferred to other causes rather than transportation.

That is certainly not the case, the funds have not been transferred to serve other purposes. SB 1 is a transportation bill and has already made a positive impact for our highways and local roads to the tune of about $5 billion a year.

And the bill also benefits intercity rail, transit services, and bicyclists and pedestrians.

Matt Rocco, Caltrans Public Affairs Division Chief

A: And…

Q: I saw your Roadshow Q and A that says the Governor is floating an idea to take money away from transportation to give it to other causes.

Passing along the Governor’s October 16 comments in San Francisco on transportation projects funded through SB 1.

Reporter question: “On gas tax SB 1, you have Republicans complaining of a bait and switch with regard to some of the funding.”

“Governor Newsom: I’m confused by it, I think they’re conflating things. Some of them are doing it, respectfully, intentionally. But SB1 is locked in, that money is used for its intended purposes, period, full stop. One cannot legally redirect those dollars. We have a fix it first framework. So a lot of confusion out there for, I think, you know, different political reasons and it’s unfortunate.

As it relates to the larger issue, this state invests about $17 billion a year on transportation. We’ve never had more abundance in funding and so transportation is a top priority, maintenance is a top priority and when we have discretionary dollars that are set aside as discretionary, we want to be thoughtful about how we use those dollars and plan in a way consistent with our values, particularly our climate values.

That’s the whole thing. It’s complicated because we are a nation state, but it’s not very complicated because we made commitments to the voters and we’re keeping them.”

Garin Casaleggio, Deputy Secretary, Communications and Strategic Planning, California State Transportation Agency

A: Yes, it is true that all money from Senate Bill 1 is earmarked for transportation. But there is other transportation funding that can be shifted around in ways that are not popular with voters. I did not mean to imply that SB 1 funding could be moved around at will, and do understand how my answer could have been read that way.

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