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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Legislators need to deal with state's horrible roads

Uploaded: Aug 18, 2016
The “dog days of August” came to an abrupt end for most students in the valley this week, but they drag on in Sacramento as the Legislature grinds toward adjournment at the end of the month.
There are some key issues on the table:
• Dealing with transportation funding.
• Deciding whether to extend the cap-and-trade funding mechanism (a tax gusher with the exception of the most recent carbon credit sale that fell way short of expectations). More on this next week.
The governor called the Legislature into a special session almost a year ago to deal with transportation. The state faces a huge shortfall in funding for a basic road maintenance that grows worse every year—a Senate report put it at $135 billion for repairs. It no surprise to motorists that 68 percent of the roads are ranked in poor or mediocre condition.
Given the world-wide oil glut and the accompanying plunge in gasoline prices, sales tax revenue from gas sales as fallen as well. The basic gasoline tax hasn’t been raised since 1994, yet California motorists still play about 41 cents per gallon versus 30 cents nationally. Our prices are the highest nationally. Manufacturers also are producing cars that are much more efficient, both in terms of gasoline mileage and performance. There are plenty of six cylinder engines that provide the driving performance that used to take eight pistons.
Democrats in the Legislature and Gov. Brown have both proposed raising the gas tax, but it has gone nowhere because it will take a two-thirds majority and thus some Republicans must come on board.
Months ago, Republicans released a plan that re-allocated monies to transportation and increased spending without raising taxes.
The road crisis also is magnified by the state’s plan to change the auto fleet to electrically powered vehicles that currently pay NO user fee (gas tax) to drive on the roads. The governor proposed a modest fee for electrically-powered cars. In pursuit of lowering carbon emissions, the state air board regulators want to have half of the cars electrically powered by 2050.
There should be some room for compromise because bad roads know no political parties—it’s a pox on both.
And state revenues are still plenty healthy—expenditures this year are at an all-time high.


The common trait across the various Wente family enterprises (winery, golf course, restaurant, concerts) is the commitment and the execution when it comes to customer service.
However, we saw that commitment reach a new level Tuesday when we played a round at the Course at Wente Vineyards. It’s routine for golf maintenance workers, who often are on the course during weekday rounds, to shut down mowers when golfers are preparing to swing or putt.
On No. 17, we saw that concept taken to the extreme. A very large tracked bulldozer (a D-8 or something similar) was ripping an adjacent field to prepare planting with grapevines. It has been fallow for a while and sits between Arroyo Road and the golf course.
As three of us went to the tee box, the driver shifted the dozer into neutral and idled the engine. What was even more impressive is that he left it that way when my wife went to the women’s tee and hit her drive.

Comments

 +   2 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Aug 18, 2016 at 9:09 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Tim,

They're holding us hostage. I've been to third world countries that have freeways that are in better condition than 580 Westbound over the Altamont. How that roadway has not been prioritized for repaving is criminal.

They have the money in Sacramento (remember when they were touting record revs a few years ago?), they chose to hold us hostage by claiming to need more.

I'm just old enough to remember "shovel-ready" jobs promised by the out-going administration. I was commuting back and forth to DC during that time and let me tell you, the DC area was booming with roadwork on nearly every freeway around the capitol. They got theirs, the West Coast received...?

It's all kabuki theater. They cry poor, they (democrats) vote more taxes.

sigh...

And just for giggles, I looked up the lists of all the roadway projects in the DoT website. Strangely the population centers in NoCal cannot be accessed. And those that could had no uniformity in reporting. It was so inefficient that you cannot get a single list of all the roadway projects in the state. Maybe its there somewhere, but I couldn't find it. And all the different regions had different information and formatting.

Government at its finest.



 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill,
on Aug 19, 2016 at 9:48 am

Hmmm. Tim, you forgot to mention the biggest Republican boondoggle of all -Arnie cutting car reg fees so he could run Gray Davis out of Sacto and erect his cigar tent where he could conduct business. Unfortunately, it put a $6-7 Billion hole in the transportation budget with no method to make up the shortfall because all taxes are evil. Glad I saved $150 per year on registration -now my tires wear faster, alignment needs doing every year vs every other year, the suspension on my car is wearing out faster and I've had numerous windshields replaced. If you can afford a BMW, Porsche, or Lexus, I'm quite sure you can afford to pay a bit more to register your car every year and then we all can drive on good roads. But, then again, Arnie had a 4WD Hummer and probably didn't feel the bumps like the rest of us common folk.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Aug 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

I just love how dems can go back 10 whole years to make excuses why they can't get things done now.

That $6b that Joe speaks of has been MORE than made up in additional taxes and, yet, it is a republicans fault.

Genius.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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