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Supervisors Plan To Lobby On Transportation Issues

Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne Board of Supervisors will create an ad-hoc committee to review some of the measures state lawmakers are considering to boost transportation revenues for degrading infrastructure.

The Supervisors heard an overview today from Community Resources Agency Director David Gonzalves about two proposed packages of state legislation. On the Republican side there is Assembly Bill 496 by Vince Fong and on the Democratic side there are Assembly Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1, introduced by Senator Jim Beall and Assemblyman Jim Frazier.

The Supervisors have stated at past meetings, and again this morning, they prefer transportation packages that do not increase taxes or fees, which is in-line with the Republican plan. However, AB 496 would mean a $4.8-million hit to the state’s general fund, which is very unlikely to gain support in the state’s legislature. Tuolumne County Transportation Council Executive Director Darin Grossi noted that he’s heard the bill is “dead in the water.”

The conversation then shifted to ways that Tuolumne County could potentially support a package that increases taxes, if it also includes provisions that would help rural counties. District Five Supervisor Karl Rodefer mentioned having short-term exemptions on CEQA requirements for road projects (5-7 years) and similar exemptions for prevailing wage. He stated there are ways to make the incoming revenues go much further.

At the recommendation of District Three Supervisor Evan Royce, the board voted to form an ad-hoc committee that will include Royce, Supervisor John Gray, TCTC Director Grossi and other county staff members to review various possibilities. The group will then make a recommendation at the Supervisor’s meeting in two weeks, with plans to travel to Sacramento shortly thereafter, to bring the ideas straight to lawmakers. Royce stated he feels this will be more effective than just writing a letter or making a telephone call.

There is an urgency to move the process along quickly, as state lawmakers have indicated that a vote on transportation funding will likely come on April 6.