Road Charge Pilot Program Preparation
By Kelly Garman, Director of Government Affairs
I’ve had a bit of a frustrating start to my participation in the Road Charge Pilot Program, but I remain hopeful that it will be resolved shortly so I can actually participate in the program. Below is a timeline of my first week, in preparation of the actual launch of the program on July 1st.
June 29 – I received in the mail the Azuga device that will plug into my vehicle and wirelessly report my mileage. I hadn’t requested a device that uses GPS (I had a choice when I enrolled), but I admit that there was a small twinge of anxiety as I opened the box and saw this little green electronic device, just waiting for me to plug it in.
I understand the privacy concerns raised by many regarding the government tracking my miles, but I have also had many conversations with Malcolm Dougherty, Director of Caltrans, and trust that the Road Charge Task Force will, in fact, do all they can to protect my private information, as the government does with other information collected, including addresses, social security numbers, drivers license information, etc… Furthermore, with my smartphone, I use Strava GPS to track my runs, WAZE to tell me how to beat the traffic to work and Uber when I am out of town but need to get around. I’m already being tracked (and, odds are, so are you if you use smartphone applications).
Still, I made the decision not to give Azuga and the state of California the ability to locate my vehicle during this pilot program.
By: Kelly Garman, Director of Government Affairs, ACEC California
The gas tax.
As the Director of Government Affairs for ACEC California, it’s something I’ve learned quite a bit about the last three years. Every transportation seminar and conference, every transportation-related bill moving through the legislature, and every time I’ve ever heard Malcolm Dougherty, Will Kempton, Senator Beall or Assembly Member Frazier speak in a public setting, the decline of the gas tax has been front and center.
And understandably so – there are more fuel-efficient cars on the roads these days, contributing to a decline in the gas tax, which is the revenue stream used to fix California’s roads. It’s a big deal. On behalf of ACEC California and as a longtime California resident, I believe this decline translates into a dire need to search for a long-term solution.
For his strong support of investing in innovative transportation infrastructure systems in California, ACEC California is pleased to announce that we have selected Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) as our 2015 Legislator of the Year.
“Assembly Member Frazier knows well the importance of efficient and effective transportation systems in California,” said Bruce Presser, ACEC California President. “From ensuring that local governments are empowered to more effectively manage their roadways through express ways, to supporting a comprehensive statewide transportation infrastructure investment, Assembly Member Frazier is not afraid to stand up for his values. “
Did you know that ACEC California is part of a growing coalition in support of fixing California’s aging water distribution system?
Californians for Water Security is a robust coalition of residents, business leaders, labor, family farmers, local governments, water experts, environmentalists and others that have come together to mount a comprehensive, multi-year campaign in support of the plan to fix California’s aging water distribution system, through implementation of the California Water Fix.
To watch the coalition’s most recent video click here.
In the summer of 2014, ACEC California published a white paper on the issue of transportation funding. In the winter of 2014, ACEC California published a magazine continuing the conversation.
Also in 2014, ACEC California was instrumental in pushing the Legislature to pass and the governor to sign Senate Bill 1077 (SB 1077) directing California to conduct a pilot program to study the feasibility of a road charge as a replacement for the gas tax to pay for road maintenance and repairs. Is California ready for such a charge?
We think so (and have been saying that for a while now).
Senator Jim Beall, chairman of the Transportation Committee has put forth a plan to restore the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.
Under Senate Bill 16, everyone who uses the roads will share in paying for the cost of essential repairs. The bill is projected to raise $3 billion or more annually over its five-year life, which allows time for the state to work out a long-term funding solution.
ACEC California member, Kleinfelder/Simon Wong was honored at the 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards for their work on the North Torrey Pines Road Bridge Retrofit project.
Without a doubt, the state’s economic health and growing population demand improvements to our highways, bridges, streets, rail systems and airports. At this fall’s Envisioning California Conference, hosted by Sacramento State’s Center for California Studies, there was a robust panel discussion in which options for financing and improving our transportation system were reviewed. The panel was moderated by ACEC California’s Director of Government Affairs, Kelly Garman Continue reading
Like the roads and bridges we drive on, our state’s transportation financing policy is in a state of collapse.
In Washington, D.C., legislators went down to the wire to temporarily rescue the Highway Trust Fund
, the primary source for financing this country’s highway and mass transit improvements. The rescue is only a stop-gap measure; the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money again by next June. The Highway Trust Fund supports fifty percent of California’s Highway Capital Program.