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With road repairs on California's to do list, local officials push for new funds

California cities and counties on Monday demanded a cut of any new revenue generated by the state for road maintenance.

In preparation for a special legislative session on transportation, state lawmakers have proposed various tax and fee hikes to help produce $6 billion a year to pay for highway and bridge maintenance.

On Monday, local government officials, along with allies in labor and business, outlined a plan by which the state, cities and counties could share that revenue.

“I don’t think the people of California would be satisfied with a gleaming, beautiful state highway system, with broken [local] streets and roads that they can’t live with,” said Matt Cate, executive director of the California State Assn. of Counties.

Gov. Jerry Brown called the special session to focus attention on problems with California roads, and lawmakers are expected to continue working on the issue when they return from their summer recess next week.

Administration officials estimate that $59 billion is needed for state roads. An additional $78 billion is required for cities and counties, according to local officials.

The plan outlined by local leaders includes many ideas already suggested by Democratic lawmakers, such as raising the gas tax and boosting vehicle registration and license fees. It also incorporates a Republican proposal to use some revenue from the cap-and-trade program that imposes fines on polluters.

Jim Earp, executive consultant at the California Alliance for Jobs, which represents construction workers and companies, said he hoped a deal could be struck in coming months.

“There's a lot more traction around this issue than we've seen in many years,” he said.

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.

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