SoCATA Backs Prop 91

What little conventional wisdom exists about Proposition 91, says that Prop. 91 is a ballot measure without any supporters. In the past couple of months, the California Alliance for Jobs, The League of Women’s Voters, LAist, and just random people around the Internet have all urged people to vote against Proposition 91. What’s especially weird is that the Alliance for Jobs is the coalition of labor groups that got Prop. 91 on the ballot in the first place.

The argument against the proposal is that Proposition 91 isn’t needed because of the passage of ballot initiatives 1a-1e in November, 2006 which guaranteed strong protections to ensure the gas tax funds transportation improvements.

Not so fast, says the Southern California Transit Advocates. Just last year the governor used a loophole to avoid the protections promised in 2006 and there’s nothing to stop him from doing it again. SoCATA argues that we can send a powerful message to the governor and help close the loopholes left in the law by passing Proposition 91. Metro Rider joined SoCATA with a piece last week supporting Proposition 91.

What SoCATA is arguing makes sense to me. How can anyone say that the battle to force the state government to spend transportation user fees on transportation is over when Governor Greenhouse continues to take gas tax dollars to balance the budget? Did the will of the voters in 2006 have any impact on the way dollars are spent in Sacramento?

A close reading of the Alliance for Jobs’ memorandum to member groups about Proposition 91 reveals that they don’t really have a problem with the proposal, but that revoking its support was part of the Alliance’s deal with the Governor and legislature to get their support for the 2006 ballot measures.

I see no reason that we need to honor the deal made by labor leaders in Sacramento. As Kymberleigh Richards argues at Metro Rider, "Proposition 91 may have gotten on the ballot by accident, but we can still take advantage of it to slap Sacramento in the face."

Just like Sacramento slaps us in the face each time transportation dollars are raided to balance the state budget.

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