Port of Oakland Hosts the Governor, Assembly Speaker, and a Coalition of Stakeholders as They Call for Transport Fix

Governor Brown’s inaugural address which took place earlier this year drew a clear picture of a deficiency in California’s transportation infrastructure. “We must also deal with longstanding infrastructure challenges”, he stated. “Each year we fall further and further behind and must do something about it. So I am calling on Republicans and Democrats alike to come together and tackle this challenge.”

Legislative action is being taken in the first Extraordinary Legislative Session which is dedicated to the issue, and the efforts were highlighted today as Governor Brown, Speaker Atkins, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Transportation Assembly Member Jim Frazier, along with a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates including California Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly, gathered at the Port of Oakland to discuss these matters.

“It’s fundamental that California be able to move goods and people in a modern, efficient way,” Governor Brown expressed in front of an audience of 70 during the morning press conference at the port headquarters. “This is critical to California prosperity.”

A March Public Policy Institute of California poll found that a majority of Californians agree with increasing funding for transportation maintenance. California needs in excess of $100 billion to fix all of the roads, but that number triples if the maintenance were to be pushed back by a decade. According to Speaker Atkins’ related press release, each dollar spent on transportation infrastructure is said to produce $5.20 in economic benefits, and every $1 billion in investment is responsible for nearly 18,000 jobs.

Part of the discussion centered on the inability to fund infrastructure due to gasoline-related excise taxes as they do not keep pace with inflation, have not been raised in 25 years, and currently have the lowest purchasing power in history.

The hosting Port of Oakland is a major stakeholder in these discussions as 99% of containerized cargo moving through Northern California uses deteriorating state and local infrastructure to transport goods in and out of the Port.

“Our infrastructure is aging and in need of public and private investment to help ports and other parts of the supply chain remain competitive,” Board of Port Commissioners Vice President Michael Colbruno expressed to the audience. “We’re hopeful that the Legislature is on a path that again prioritizes freight and transportation solutions in its special session.”

Source: Assembly Speaker Atkins
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