Friday, March 12, 2010

Follow Your Own Direction

The governor and I don’t agree on much. But two months ago, in his State of the State speech, the governor said we had to get our priorities straight and keep them straight, and the "first priority for the coming year is the economy and jobs." On this we agree.

Accordingly, last week the Legislature sent the governor two budget-related transportation bills that create and protect tens of thousands of jobs at a time when California’s unemployment rate exceeds 11%. It's time for the governor to follow his own direction by signing ABx8 6 and 9.

These two bills, both authored by the Assembly Budget Committee, will fully fund local transit with an ongoing and sustainable funding source, bring more funding for highways, streets and roads, and provide nearly a billion dollars in relief to the state’s General Fund.

More importantly, these bills translate into immediate jobs. Shamefully, public transit has received no state financial support since 2007. As a result, more than 40,000 statewide public transit jobs are in jeopardy. These bills will stabilize transit and protect those jobs. The bills also provide funding to create approximately 6,400 new infrastructure-related jobs. Finally, the bills will pay down bond debt that has created more than 19,000 jobs.

Transit is in crisis, as are the working people who rely on it. The governor issued a challenge, and on Monday these jobs bills were delivered to him. He has until March 20th to act.

Governor, it's time for you to do as you say and keep your priorities straight. Sign these bills and you will protect working families, create jobs, and help the economy. I hope on that we can agree.