It was no surprise when Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger won handily in his re-election bid within our mostly Democrat-registered state. Much was attributed to his ability to work together with both parties, including placing a $37-billion infrastructure package in a series of bond measures before the voters.
As for the Five major bond issues concerning the construction industry in California, it was good to see:
- Proposition 1A — That closes the loophole in Proposition 42, ensuring that gas tax revenues are used to pay only for transportation projects, not other programs — Passed
- Proposition 1B — The Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security Bond Act. Provides $19.9 billion to make safety improvement on highways, widen roads, reduce congestion, improve public transit, and improve anti-terrorism security at California ports — Passed
- Proposition 1C — The Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act. Provides $2.9 billion for shelters for battered women and safe housing for low-income senior citizens — Passed
- Proposition 1D — The Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act. Provides $10.4 billion to build and modernize K-12 classrooms and expand the state's universities and community colleges — Passed
- Proposition 1E — The Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act. Earmarks $4.1 billion to repair levees and improve flood protection throughout the state — Passed
All these propositions passed by wide margins; not a moment too soon. Even with these measures passing, more needs to be done to keep traffic moving and infrastructure improving in the state. As reported recently by Mayo Communications, the Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC) — a public policy group — warned Southern California is in dire straits without adequate infrastructure improvements.
SCLC believes that, along with general highway expansion and improvements, moving more than a million freight trucks off the highways and transporting those goods via rail will both increase highway capacity and lessen commute times.
Lee Harrington, executive director of SCLC added, "Shifting our freight and goods movement from trucks to rails is one huge step in solving the highway transportation crisis Southern Californians face during every morning and evening commute. The movement of goods and containers to and through Southern California is expected to triple in the next 20 years. Left unabated, the region's quality of life could be irretrievably harmed.
"Every truck bouncing along our freeways is equivalent to 2.7 cars. If we moved that freight by rail, we could increase our current highway capacity by some 3 million vehicles. Plus, we'll have the added benefit of greatly reducing emissions, traffic congestion, and all the undue wear and tear on the roads caused by truck traffic."
And Mark Watts, Executive Director of Transportation California, had this to say about passage of Propositions 1A and 1B:
"This is a clear statement that Californians recognize the absolute necessity of maintaining and improving our roads and transportation infrastructure. This is a big step forward, but it is by no means the final step toward making our transportation system an asset and not a liability for California and its people. Even with these two important measures, a real gap remains between what is needed in infrastructure investment and what we are doing to meet that need.
"The governor, our Legislative leaders, the business community and labor deserve enormous credit for coming together on a bi-partisan basis to lead the way for passage of these infrastructure measures."
Finally, remember to get up to speed on the new CARB regs coming up:
- Visit the CARB website at www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/ordiesel/ordiesel.htm. Get familiar with its regulatory concept for reducing PM emissions from in-use off-road diesel equipment and stay up to date with CARB activities.
- Sign up on the CARB e-mail list serve, available from the link above.
- Visit the CIAQC website at www.ciaqc.com and sign up for the latest information.
- Attend ALL future CARB meetings on this proposed regulation to voice your concerns and protect your rights.
- Tell your industry associates about this proposed regulation and encourage their involvement. If you are a member of an industry trade association, get your association involved. Have them contact the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition (CIAQC).
- If you know a CARB board member, state Legislator or other local official, educate them about the impact these regulations will have on your business.