Gov. Brown's Transportation Budget May Hit Bumpy Roads in Sacramento

Given El Nino's impact on the state's roads and highways, a case could be made for increased spending on transportation infrastructure in the budget plan that Gov. Jerry Brown released Thursday.

But Republican lawmakers are objecting to its partial reliance on tax hikes.

Transportation advocates hope there'll be more wheeling and dealing than head-butting over it in Sacramento.

The governor's proposed $122.6 billion budget adds $200 million to spending on roads, highways and bridges next fiscal year – for a total of $3.6 billion.

This fiscal year's transportation budget will launch a 10-year spending strategy that the governor hopes will put nearly $40 billion worth of upgrades and new construction into the system, with another $807 million set aside for long-deferred maintenance.

His funding formula is a combination of taxes, fees and so-called cap-and-trade money to bankroll those projects.

However, as far as GOP lawmakers are concerned, tax hikes are a non-starter, so negotiations are at a standstill.

San Diego drivers interviewed Thursday by NBC 7 said they’re concerned about the tax aspects as well.

But Clairemont resident Connie Joy weighed that against having to endure a typical substandard freeway stretch: "When you're driving on it and you hit one of those little ripples, it's like 'Oh my God, is my car going south?' But it's not the car, it's the roads."

Is it about time to pony up more money fix them, she was asked.

“It is,” Joy replied. “How many cars do we have on the freeways? Millions. And we’ve all got to do our part.”

She paused, then added with a smile: “Roll 'em, Jerry!”

Meanwhile, the state's cycling advocates aren't happy campers, in light of what the governor is offering their programs next fiscal year -- a $14 million funding cut, to a level about 20 percent lower than this year's allocations.

“A step backward,” is how the earmark was characterized in a statement issued by the California Bicycle Coalition. “Fortunately, the just-released budget is just a first draft.”

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