Perea, 10 other Assembly members seek additional transportation cash

  ·  John Ellis, The Fresno Bee   ·   Link to Article

Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea and 10 of his state Assembly colleagues have sent a letter to Speaker John Pérez and Assembly Budget Chair Nancy Skinner, seeking additional money for transportation infrastructure projects.

The letter notes that, for the first time in more than a decade, there is a budget surplus. It also cites the state Transportation Commission, which says 58% of California’s roadways and 20% of its bridges require some sort of maintenance work, and an additional 6% of bridges need to be replaced.

A solution, the letter says, is to budget $500 million in one-time funds for transportation infrastructure projects. The money would be in addition to $337 million Gov. Jerry Brown proposed in his initial budget for loan repayments that would accelerate highway and road preservation and maintenance projects.

“What we wanted to do is get on the record some of the concerns and priorities we wanted to see in the budget,” Perea said. He said the letter was “step one of putting down the marker on the issue.”

Perea said he and his fellow Assembly members who signed the letter will now work with colleagues in the budget subcommittees to get the increased funding.

“There’s such a big need, but we have to start somewhere,” he said.

Besides Perea, the other 10 Assembly members who signed the letter are Tom Daly of Anaheim, Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton, Jose Medina of Perris, Jim Frazier of Antioch, Cheryl Brown of San Bernardino, Adam Gray of Modesto, Richard Pan of Sacramento, Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova, Rudy Salas of Bakersfield, and Raul Bocanegra of the San Fernando Valley community of Arleta.

All are Democrats, as are Speaker Pérez and Budget Chair Skinner.