L.A. area fails to capture bulk of transportation funds

Panel rules Prop. 1B money will be distributed more evenly

News The Sacramento Bee / The Los Angeles Times November 28, 2007
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A state panel has rejected Southern California legislators’ call for the bulk of $3 billion allocated for improving the flow of goods through ports and along rail lines and highways in the state.

Lawmakers lost a bid Nov. 27 to secure most of the voter-approved transportation bond money—a move that could have drawn funds from other parts of the state.

Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) argued that his region should get a bigger share of the money because 85% of the shipping cargo containers handled in California come through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Ignoring Núñez’s plea, the California Transportation Commission approved guidelines that would distribute the money more evenly.

The commission voted 8 to 1 to adopt a plan that more evenly spreads the $3 billion throughout the state.

Of the $3 billion, the Los Angeles/Inland Empire trade corridor would still get up to $1.7 billion, or 56%. Núñez and other lawmakers want more, citing the container traffic.

Núñez said he would "work vigorously" to get a bigger share when lawmakers dole out the money during state budget deliberations.

To alter the spending, it would take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

The money comes from Proposition 1B, the $19.9 billion transportation bond approved by voters last year. The $2 billion was set aside to ease trucking, rail and port congestion statewide. The commission also agreed to tack on $1 billion in other money, including from federal funds that aren't yet guaranteed.

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