Tuesday, March 23, 2010

State Transit Assistance Returns

As any transit advocate in California knows, the State Transit Assistance fund, which formerly provided around $1bn/year for local transit agencies in California, has been Governated for the past three budget cycles, and even after the California Transit Association won a lawsuit that ostensibly forced its return, Ahnold decided that he'd just eliminate the revenue source that used to fund that program (IMHO out of spite). Democrats in the Legislature didn't like that so much, and they proposed a plan, ABX8 6, which would at least partially restore transit funding under the new gas tax system. (It'll clock in at between $300m and $400m a year.) I asked you all to call your state Senators earlier this month to support the bill, and the Senate passed it shortly after.

Well, the Governator started making noises about vetoing this bill, because the Legislature wasn't giving him EXACTLY the legislative program he wanted. (This is what he does, of course.) After some negotiations, which (according to Calitics) means there are new homeowner and green-tech tax loopholes coming (in the middle of a budget shortfall), ABX8 6 is now law. After three years of doing without, California will once again fund public transit at the state level. It's not the level we ought to be supporting, but it's certainly a start.

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