Bond Package Includes Separate Bonds for Transportation, Levees, Flood Control, Education, and Housing
Early Friday morning, the California State Legislature approved $37.3 billion in bonds to invest in California's crumbling infrastructure. Several of Senator George Runner's (R-Antelope Valley) legislative bills to speed up construction of schools and roads were adopted in the bond measures. "The bonds to fix our schools and roads have real reform ensuring we are not just spending tax dollars on bureaucrats pushing paper but actually using the dollars for roads and buildings," said Senator Runner. "Along with the bonds and the reforms incorporated to build roads and schools faster, we fought for a constitutional amendment to protect Prop 42 transportation funds which ensures the Legislature can not raid it in the future."
The $19.9 billion transportation bond included Runner's legislation, SB 1812 to speed up delivery time for transportation projects by eliminating the federal government's role for review, expediting federal permitting, and improving local government access to federal decision-makers. This legislation will eliminate up to 180 days or more of bureaucratic delays. The transportation bond also had a companion measure to allow for the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to approve public-private partnerships. These partnerships could include a designated truck lane to transport goods and services like the High Desert Corridor. Runner had been pushing for this as part of the ‘Go California’ package over the last year. The $10.4 billion education bond also included one of Runner's bills, SB 1260 that will save community colleges time and money when building facilities. The provision authorizes community colleges to use the Uniform Building Code instead of the Field Act. This legislation will bring parity to community colleges by including them with the other segments of higher education in the exemption from the Field Act. Runner continues, "We, as Republicans successfully fought hard to ensure that the bonds were to be used for "bricks and mortar" and not for social engineering projects. We were also successful in advocating key reforms that will get roads, levees and schools built faster." The Governor is expected to sign these bond measures in the next few days. Each bond will be placed on the November ballot for the voters to approve.