Written by The Business Journal Staff
Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) today introduced legislation in Sacramento that would prevent the High Speed Rail Authority from using tax dollars meant for roadways to pay off rail debt.
AB 65 would put taxes and fees collected in the State Highway Account, meant to repair streets, highway and roads, off limits for paying off bond debt associated with Proposition 1A, the $9.9 billion bond measure passed by voters in 2008.
The bond’s principal and interest payments are projected to cost taxpayers nearly $20 billion over the next 30 years.
“Governor Brown ordered a halt to road projects claiming the state didn’t have enough money to complete them,” Assemblyman Patterson said in a statement. “Now he and the legislature plan to use $19.5 billion of those very road funds — they claim they don’t have — to pay off high speed rail bond debt instead of fixing our roads and highways. The people never approved such a scheme when they voted on High Speed Rail. Yet those in charge in Sacramento will do it any way while still demanding higher taxes from drivers. This is a blatant bait and switch that would amount to fraud if anyone in the private sector did the same thing.”
Today the High Speed Rail Authority approved the taking of Prop 1A money to fund construction activity in the Central Valley.
“This marks the beginning of an unchecked process drawing down billions of dollars to pay High Speed Rail bond debt — money that could be used to repair our streets, highways, roads and bridges right now,” said a news release from Patterson’s office.