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California Legislature

Garcetti, other L.A. leaders call on Legislature to end delays on transportation funding plan

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Los Angeles Times)

A group of officials including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday called on state legislators to end a stalemate over approving a transportation funding plan to cover a $130-billion backlog of repairs to California’s roads, bridges and highways.

Current legislation that would raise the gas tax and vehicle fees to generate $5.5 billion annually needs a two-thirds vote of the Legislature but has been bogged down with some Democrats withholding support.

“We have a very simple message for Sacramento today: Fix our streets,” Garcetti said during the rally. “It is time before the April 6 break for the California state Senate and Assembly to do the right thing and fix the streets of our cities and of our region.”

Pressure on legislators was also ratcheted up by Brian Kelly, secretary of the California State Transportation Agency, who said he hopes new legislation will be introduced next week that “will reveal the entirety of the funding plan.”

“The time to act is now,” Kelly said during the rally. “The Legislature has not passed a gas tax increase in 23 years, but over that time things have gotten more expensive.”

County Supervisor Hilda Solis and City Councilman Joe Buscaino also called on lawmakers to reach an agreement.

“Our roads have been neglected to the point that the deterioration is accelerating at an alarming pace,” Buscaino said.

Current legislation would raise the per-gallon gas tax by 12 cents in phases over three years, set the price-based per-gallon excise tax at 17.3 cents, increase the diesel tax by 20 cents, boost the sales tax on fuel by 4% and increase the annual registration fee by $38 for all vehicles.

Some Democratic lawmakers want more money guaranteed for neglected districts and mass transit.

But Garcetti called on the legislators to show leadership and reach a compromise.

“For too long we have let our roads and bridges crumble,” the mayor said. “For too long we have delayed to another month, or another year or another Legislature. For too long we’ve known that a problem exists, we've known how to take action, but we haven’t been able to do it.”

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