California’s Mobility 21 Coalition recently adopted a state budget resolution in hopes of prompting the state legislature to restore transportation funds to the fiscal-year 2004-05 budget.
Released earlier this month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget proposed transferring Proposition 42 gas tax funds — which are designed for transportation projects — to the general fund to help make up the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. Schwarzenegger’s FY2003-04 mid-year reductions and FY2004-05 budget reduced transportation funds $2.1 billion, according to a prepared statement.
"The latest proposal by the Department of Finance could jeopardize many vital transportation projects needed to help solve traffic congestion in this region," said Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA MTA) Chief Executive Officer Roger Snoble. "We need adequate funding from the federal government and Sacramento if we expect to continue building a public transit system and making the transportation improvements that are critical for Los Angeles County’s economic growth and mobility."
If the transportation funds are not reinstated to the budget, several LA MTA projects would be affected, including the Exposition Boulevard light-rail extension and system improvements.
In the meantime, Mobility 21 members plan to continue educating state and federal lawmakers on the importance of investing in the state’s transportation system, officials said.
The coalition also set its 2004 state and federal legislative priorities, which include supporting Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century reauthorization, advocating Los Angeles County’s transportation appropriation requests and opposing transportation revenue transfers.
Led by LA MTA and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobility 21 aims to develop solutions to transportation issues facing Los Angeles County. Coalition members include elected officials, transportation providers, business and labor leaders, and community representatives.