Atkins greets state and local highway officials after her speech in Sacramento. Courtesy of the speaker’s office

Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins unveiled a plan Wednesday to spend $10 billion over five years to fix California’s deteriorating highways and bridges.

“California cannot have a strong middle class or a thriving economy if our roadways are congested and people and goods cannot move efficiently throughout the state,” said Atkins, who spoke in Sacramento at the California Transportation Foundation’s 16th Annual Forum. “The Assembly is stepping up and proposing $10 billion for transportation infrastructure — $2 billion per year over the next 5 years.”

The plan she outlined includes:

  • $1 billion per year by returning truck weight fees to transportation instead of using them to repay general obligation debt.
  • $200 million per year for transportation funding by accelerating repayment of transportation loans.
  • $800 million per year in new net funds for transportation by establishing a new road-user charge, which Atkins said would amount to a dollar a week for most drivers.

“This is the right proposal at the right time. California has overcome a dangerous recession in our very recent past, the present is fiscally stable and looking stronger every day, so now we need to look ahead and help fix the future,” she said. “And addressing transportation funding so we can have better, safer, and faster infrastructure is a key part of fixing the future.”

California has 33 million registered vehicles, the most of any state, along with the second-highest share of roads rated in “poor condition” and problems with a third of its bridges

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.