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“Smart Growth” California Voters Guide Courtesy of WalkSacramento

Last week, WalkSacramento provided a very through analysis of how the California Ballot Initiatives will affect the bike/ped world. We thought it was a very good analysis and Walkable Neighborhoods also endorses the analysis they provided. Here is what they sent to their members:

WALKSacramento Summary of Major Provisions and Analysis of Key Propositions on the November 2006 Ballot (partial list)

Proposition 1A — Use of sales tax revenues from sales of gasoline

Key provisions: Increases restrictions upon the legislature's and governor's use for general fund purposes of sales tax dollars generated from sales of gasoline; Specifies process by which the governor, via proclamation, and the legislature, with a subsequent 2/3 vote in each house, can together suspend transfers of these revenues from the general fund to a transportation fund; Establishes that these transfers are loans that must be repaid in full within three years; Limits such transfers to two over any ten-year period; Requires payment from general fund to a transportation fund of a portion of previous transfers.

Analysis: By making it more difficult for the legislature and governor to prevent the continuing transfer of sales tax revenues from the general fund to transportation funding (80% roads, 20% transit, 0%walk-bike) that first started with the Transportation Congestion Relief Act and then proceeded with Proposition 42, Proposition 1A will worsen the state general fund's structural deficit, threatening all programs funded via the general fund.

Proposition 1B — Transportation Bond — $19.925 billion

Key Provisions:

Walking and Bicycling Mobility or Safety: $0 billion
Zero, zip, nada

Highway and transit infrastructure: $16.250 billion
$4.5 billion for high priority corridor improvements
$1 billion for State Highway 99 Enhancement Plan
$2 billion for STIP augmentation
$2 billion for trade infrastructure
$4 billion for rail, bus, transit, and improvements
$750 million for SHOPP, including $250 million for ITS
$1 billion for State-Local Partnership Program
$1 billion to cities for local roads
$1 billion to counties for local roads

Safety, security, disaster preparedness: $1.475 billion
$1 billion for transit safety and disaster response
$100 million for Port Security Program
$125 million for local bridge seismic retrofit
$250 million for grade separations and railroad crossing safety

Air quality: $1.2 billion
$1 billion for port air quality (cleaner port and corridor trucks, switcher engines, harbor craft, port electrification)
$200 million for school bus retrofit and replacement

Analysis: Proposition 1B continues the state's decades-long pattern of favoring automobile-oriented transportation investments. Increasing roadway capacity will increase vehicles miles traveled, with resultant impacts upon air quality. The $40 billion dollar tab (including interest payments) would add stress to the state's general fund and represent a historic, permanent shift away from user fees which until now have constituted a majority of highway funding in California.

Transit and air quality programs receive less than one-third of the funds, while walking and bicycling are ignored entirely. While money for roads at the local level could include bicycle and pedestrian facilities, there is no requirement for “routine accommodation” of all modes. For this reason, this measure is opposed by Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) and the California Bicycle Coalition (CBC). The air quality investments are focused primarily on ports, while our region will bear the burden of increased emissions from additional goods movement and other driving made possible by new roadway capacity. It's difficult to foresee how Proposition 1B would benefit air quality in the Sacramento region, reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide or increase walkability.

Proposition 1C — Housing and Land Use Bond — $2.85 billion

Key Provisions:

Supporting Smart Growth: $1.35 billion
$850 million for regional planning, housing and infill incentives
$200 million for urban, suburban and rural parks
$300 million for transit-oriented development

Affordable housing: $1.5 billion
$345 million for multi-family housing
$300 million for Cal Home homeownership program
$200 million for CHADAP down payment assistance program
$195 million for supportive housing
$135 million for farm worker housing
$125 million for the Building Equity and Growth in Neighborhoods (BEGIN) Program
$100 million for affordable housing innovation
$50 million for homeless youth housing
$50 million for emergency housing.

Analysis: Proposition 1C will advance smart growth in California, with resultant air quality and walkability benefits. If passed by voters in November, Proposition 1C will allocate $1.35 billion (nearly 50% of the initiative's $2.85 billion total) for infill housing and related infrastructure.

Proposition 1D — Education Bond — $10.416 billion

Key Provisions:

K-12 facilities: $7.329 billion
$3.3 billion for rehabilitation and modernization of existing schools
$1.9 billion for new school construction
($200 million for small high schools is included in new construction and modernization above)
$1 billion for overcrowded schools
$500 million for charter schools
$500 million for career technical education facilities
$100 million for energy-efficient schools
$29 million for joint use facilities

Higher Education: $3.087 billion
$1.58 billion for UC and CSU
$1.5 billion for community colleges

Analysis: Proposition 1D would significantly shift spending priorities for school construction in favor of rehabilitating and modernizing schools in existing neighborhoods ($3.3 billion) versus investing in new school construction ($1.9 billion). This would have positive impacts upon walkability.

New schools have long been the advance scouts for sprawl, launching greenfield development and making walking and bicycling impractical for a growing number of students. The National Association of Realtors notes that “the phenomenon of building spreadout schools in unwalkable environments is so common it now has a name: “school sprawl”. Auto trips to schools significantly worsen morning congestion and increase emissions.

The National Historic Trust listed “Eliminate funding biases that favor new construction over school renovation and good stewardship” as its first policy recommendation in its October 2002 report entitled Why Johnny Can”t Walk to School. (page 49).

Proposition 1D is strongly supported by New Schools, Better Neighborhoods, a highly respected California nonprofit organization linking school construction funding with neighborhood revitalization.

Proposition 1E — Flood Protection — $4.09 billion
No explicit walking or transportation impacts, but new pathways could be sited atop levees. We include this because flood control is a matter of compelling regional interest.

$3 billion for levee inspection, repair, flood control improvements, and delta levee protection
$500 million for flood control subventions
$290 million for flood corridors, bypasses, and flood plain mapping
$300 million for storm flood management

Proposition 87 — Alternative Energy/Oil Extraction Fee

Key Provisions:
Establishes a $4 billion program with goal of reducing petroleum consumption by 25%, with research and production incentives for alternative energy, alternative energy vehicles, energy efficient technologies, and for education and training.

Funded by tax of 1.5% to 6% (depending on oil price per barrel) on producers of oil extracted in California.

Analysis: There is no free lunch, and there are legitimate “good government” questions regarding oversight and accountability provisions contained (or not contained) within Proposition 87. However, if Proposition 87 is successful, the programs and projects it creates will likely move California to the very forefront of alternative energy and clean fuels research and development, with a variety of new technologies emerging related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving air quality.

Proposition 90 — Gov”t Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property

Key Provisions:
If Proposition 90 were approved, the California Constitution would be amended to include new laws and rules requiring property owners to be compensated for substantial economic losses resulting from government's taking ownership of the property; governmental authority to take ownership of private property would be limited.

Supporters cite a need for property owners to receive increased compensation from eminent domain proceedings.
Opponents say Proposition 90 is a poorly-written proposal that will be costly to taxpayers, prevents localities from promoting infill development and includes provisions that may be used to impact the implementation of laws in the areas of consumer protection and employment, all leading to increased litigation.

Analysis: The passage of Proposition 90 could lead to unchecked, sprawling growth and a more litigious environment for infill development, thus worsening air quality and walkability.

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Sources: Transportation California; Sierra Club; Housing California; California Chamber of Commerce; California Air Resources Board; New Schools, Better Neighborhoods; USEPA; National Historic Trust; CA Secretary of State.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Sacramento Forums November 8, 2006, 3:20 pm

    Please stop by SacForums.com if you’d like to talk about politics & local issues. Thanks! :)

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