California voters reject earmarking for infrastructure

News AASHTO Journal October 17, 2003
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California may have approved Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it rejected a ballot issue that would have diverted up to 3% of each ye

California may have approved Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it rejected a ballot issue that would have diverted up to 3% of each year's state budget into a fund to rebuild deteriorating infrastructure.


The San Jose Mercury News reported that the proposal, Proposition 53, was rejected by a margin of 64% to 36%. The funds it would have collected would have been used to rebuild a wide variety of infrastructure, from freeways to sewage treatment plants.


The infrastructure set-aside could have been spent on construction and maintenance of public works, parklands and other non-school related physical investment. Half the funds were to go to state projects, half to local ones. One analyst estimated that the proposition would have lifted $850 million from general fund spending in the first year it took effect, rising to several billion dollars annually with time.


Though backers said state officials have chronically underfunded infrastructure, opponents said passing the proposal would just worsen the state's current financial straits.



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