The Bee got it right in your Aug. 18 editorial, “Proposition 1B Paying Off for Northern San Joaquin Valley” (Issues & Ideas). The investments resulting from that bond program have not only benefited the San Joaquin Valley, but have upgraded transportation facilities across the state. The program was well-managed by the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans as the promises to the voters were met. And, as The Bee points out, a weak economy resulted in even more project benefits as bid savings allowed for additional investment.
The unfortunate news is that the Proposition 1B program is nearly completed and the bond proceeds are running out. Over the last seven years, California has been able to spend an additional $12 billion on capital improvements primarily funded through those voter-approved bonds. What these expenditures have shown us is that investment in our transportation infrastructure does work to improve mobility, create jobs and enhance our quality of life. No one likes tax or fee increases, but we need to increase the level of investment in our transportation system to make sure that these benefits continue. As your editorial points out, spending for infrastructure, when well-managed and well-spent, can pay off for everyone.
executive director, Transportation California