Transportation California’s (TC) cause originated in the 1980s when it was known as Californians for Better Transportation. That organization brought together construction firms and public agencies to promote public investments in California’s transportation infrastructure. It was renamed Transportation California in 1990 with the purpose of ensuring long-term, stable transportation funding.
All the major transportation funding proposals in California have Transportation California’s fingerprints on them. In March 2002, it was the driving force behind Proposition 42 which dedicated the sales tax on gasoline to transportation projects. Amazingly, California assessed the sales tax on a gallon of fuel and any state and federal excise taxes as well. Yes, you read that correctly — the state would apply sales tax on a tax. But it gets worse. The sales tax revenue would go to general government operations and not transportation-related programs. Transportation California proposed to put an end to that backward thinking and sponsored a statewide initiative. In 2002, 69.1% of the voters agreed. Proposition 42 resulted in about $1.5 billion additional dollars annually for transportation dedicated infrastructure projects.
Transportation California was also instrumental in the passage of Proposition 1B. It created a $20 billion general obligation bond for transportation projects. It also threw its weight behind SB 1 and against its repeal during the Proposition 6 campaign.
All in all, Transportation California has literally ensured tens of billions of dollars in transportation projects across the state.
SCCA has been a member of Transportation California for at least the last two decades. SCCA past presidents Ed Kalish and Paul Vonberg were long supporters and participants in TC’s decision making body. Today, SCCA members, SCCA key staff, and SCCA’s lobbyist participate in their board meetings and other organizational functions.
Strong leadership is certainly needed when it comes to transportation infrastructure advocacy in California. Its breadth and scope mean it is very fractured and decentralized. There are small specialized subcontractors and large publicly traded companies working on transportation infrastructure in the state. Transportation California takes those in the highway and streets portion of the industry, develops an understanding of their collective interests, and molds them into clear public policy positions for California lawmakers to understand.
TC is the industry’s tip of the spear when it comes to California transportation policy and funding issues. SCCA is proud to play a role in its advocacy, decision-making, and support.