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Governor Holds Rally for Controversial Transportation Bill

Concerns over truck pollution rules may hold up the governor's new transportation bill. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)
Concerns over truck pollution rules may hold up the governor's new transportation bill. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)
April 6, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Jerry Brown and his supporters held a rally Wednesday to rev up support for his transportation bill.

But environmental groups are protesting a section they maintain will lead to more pollution by big trucks.

Senate Bill 1 increases the gas tax and the fee to register a vehicle – and would raise $53 billion over 10 years to repair the state's crumbling roads and bridges.

Kathryn Phillips, director of the Sierra Club California, says it also contains an amendment that handcuffs regulatory agencies so they can no longer require trucks going into certain high traffic areas such as ports, warehouse districts and airports to meet lower emissions standards.

"They produce one of the things that creates the smog that we breathe in, and that has serious health impacts for lung and heart disease," she points out.

The bill is supposed to go up for a vote Thursday. But opponents hope it will be delayed so they can continue to press for the removal of that provision on truck pollution.

Phillips says aside from that section, which is technically called the indirect source rules, the bill is remarkably progressive.

"With the exception of the polluting-truck language, this is a fair bill,” she states. “It provides new funding for transit, the majority is for fixing stuff not expanding roadways."

California faces a backlog of about $59 billion to repair and maintain the state’s transportation infrastructure.

The bill includes a constitutional amendment to prevent the money from being spent on anything except transportation.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA