Proposals starting to form in Sacramento and San Diego County
By Chris Nichols
Feb. 15, 2015

SACRAMENTO — With a shrinking pot of money to fix California’s roads, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has vowed to push the state into “the next generation of funding” through a $52 per year “Road User Charge” for all drivers.

Atkins’ colleagues from San Diego to Sacramento said last week they share her worry over how to pay for the state’s aging and overburdened roads, bridges and highways. But they also said her idea could be in for a long, difficult ride in the Legislature given the public’s disdain for new fees and the lack of a clear connection between state government and the potholes on local parkways.

Further, her move could compete with, or even stall, city and regional efforts to raise transportation tax dollars in San Diego County, according to some observers.

A closer look at at each plan is here.

Last month, San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey proposed the creation of a citywide infrastructure financing plan, to be placed on the 2016 ballot. He said it’s needed to help close a $1.7 billion funding gap for city repairs and upgrades to roads, sidewalks, fire stations and other assets over the next five years.

At the regional level, the San Diego Association of Governments is considering whether to place a “Quality of Life Tax” on the 2016 ballot. It would pay for open space conservation, water quality and shoreline preservation projects.

Those, in turn, could compete with a slew of other state and local tax proposals being considered, from the extension of California’s Proposition 30 sales and income tax increase to a public financing proposal to build a new Chargers football stadium.

“There’s a limit. People can afford only so much,” said San Diego Councilman Todd Gloria, who said he admired Atkins’ willingness to tackle the transportation issue but wants to ensure there’s local control over any new funds created. “There are some real, practical considerations about how we can do this.”

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