Sue Frost

Posted by Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost
As you are undoubtedly aware, California voters went to the polls last November and voted not to repeal the “gas tax,” which is the largest tax increase in the history of California.  The gas tax is here to stay, and local roads in Sacramento County will start getting repaved later this fall. But strangely enough, even though this tax has only been in place for a little over a year, there are local governmental entities currently having discussions about how to raise even more money.  I want to take this opportunity to explain to you why this is happening, and where I think we should go from here.

Sacramento County does not have enough money to pay for our roads, and even with the gas tax, we are still dreadfully short of what is needed just to maintain the current awful condition our roads are in.   The gas tax was advertised as “fixing our roads,” but in actuality it was just a small drop in the bucket.  Right now, even with the gas tax the county would need an additional $15-20 million yearly just to maintain the roads at their current level.  To improve the roads to a standard that people would deem as “good,” we would need an additional $50 million yearly.

What many people do not understand is that local roads in California used to be primarily funded by the state and federal government, but over the past several years they have heavily cut back on local funding.  Not only that, but much of the funding that does come in comes in the form of competitive dollars, meaning we are only going to win those funds for major projects that have nothing to do with resurfacing, like the road widening that recently happened along Hazel Avenue. 

The problem Sacramento County is experiencing with our roads is not localized to just our county or even region.  This is a problem afflicting the entire State of California, as even with the gas tax, our state has around $85 billion in road maintenance that has been postponed due largely to the state and federal government diverting funds away from local municipalities.  This enormous bill would feel more understandable if California were broke, but that is not the case. 

Not only did Governor Newsom just announce a nearly $15 billion surplus, but after backtracking on some of his comments, he announced that we are still moving forward with California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR).  In my opinion, CASHR is not even a fraction as important as having reliable roads. CAHSR will be used exclusively on passengers, with a focus on commuters.  Roads meanwhile are used by everyone, including passengers, freight, fire service, police service, etc. 

When voters approved CAHSR, it was supposed to cost $40 billion and connect San Francisco to Los Angeles.  Experts are now expecting that it could cost over $98 billion, but I suspect given how this has been run so far that it would run far higher than that.  Governor Newsom made comments recently that he wants to focus on completing the first section, a 188-mile segment between Merced and Bakersfield estimated to cost $10.6 billion, before moving forward with the full project.

Instead, I suggest we cut our losses, end CAHSR, and finally make real investments to our crumbling infrastructure.  Sacramento County cannot afford to let California prioritize a handful of Central Valley commuters over the needs of virtually every Californian in the state.

Thank you for reading – and as always, if you want to contact me, call me at (916) 874-5491 or e-mail me at SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net.

Sue Frost represents the 4th District, which includes all or part of the communities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Orangevale, Antelope, Rio Linda, Elverta, Gold River, Rancho Murieta, North Highlands, Carmichael, Foothill Farms and Fair Oaks.


Jacque Villa's picture
Joined: 07/11/2009
Posts: 538
Post rating: 696

Politicians and their promises

I no longer have faith in our politicians...they say one thing to get elected then reverse it when/if they get into office.....example, Newsom...now he has stopped the death penality, and will continue with the train which we do not need...we could use that money to fix our roads that are used more than the train and certainly by more folks. So, I will not contribute to any politician or listen to their empty promises.......JMHO

Bunky Svendsen's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 163
Post rating: 209

Stop the finger pointing...Sue

Sue Frost

Thank goodness, that the visionaries that built the interstate highway and all the wonderful infrasrtructure in this country did not have your pessimistic view of what we are capable of, as Americans. You said it right, we are not broke...we can build a high speed rail(enjoyed by many other industrialized countries...China included) AND have the best roads and highways in the country...if only we had the people in power with the guts to move it forward. Blaming Gavin Newsom for your problems, isnt going to get it done.

Dave Sigler's picture
Joined: 03/22/2017
Posts: 4
Post rating: 5

Polticians speaking

Like the old joke goes (usually applied to lawyers) how do tell they are lying ?  Their lips are moving.  It's endemic to the species of "politician"...the say whatever the current audience wants to hear...then move onto the next fund raiser and tell them what they want to hear..doesn't matter if it's contradictory or not. Two other political pastimes come to mind...assign the blame to someone else for failures...or resort to mudlinging.  If public service jobs were voluntary..how far would the altruism extend ?  

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 362
Post rating: 587

Thank you Sue Frost!

Thank you again for your straight forward analysis and recommendations. I appreciate the fact you don't skirt the hard facts and just tell us what we want to hear. 

Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 27
Post rating: 37

What many people do not understand

What many people do not understand, Sue, is how we can be taxed so heavily and still not have funds for basic needs. Instead our political leaders invest in vanity projects that cost a fortune and do nothing to address the needs of everyday taxpayers. What people do not understand is why our tax dollars are spent on caring for non-citizens, and the fact that our political leaders seem intent on throwing open the door so that we can have yet even more mouths to feed and doctor bills to pay.

In the meantime, our property values stagnate and drop as our taxes go up. Sue is right. We don't need Jerry's bullet train boondoggle. We need a decent road between RM and Folsom, so that we're not quite so isolated from nearby population centers. Our property values would go up, and the club would see increased financial security, if people did not need to travel the pothole highway just to get here.

Want to do something good for us, Sue? Advocate for us. Don't tell us it can't be done or that it's not "politically viable." Want to generate some understanding? How about a plain, simply worded explanation of where our tax dollars are spent. How about insisting on prioritizing our needs, and becoming the fiscal conservative we so desperately need.

John Hein's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 352
Post rating: 417

Greg

Greg, we are taxed heavily so those in charge can give our money away to others to "buy" votes, plain and simple! The party in power has zero interest in doing anything to assist the "citizens" of our state. They are busy pandering to illegals spending our tax dollars on non citizens for the purposes those of us with common sense know. They will not spend the new gas tax money on roads, they will use it to shore up public employee pensions as they always have in the past.

John Hein

Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 27
Post rating: 37

John

You're right, of course, but I think your point maybe is a bit of overstatement. There is no doubt but that buying votes is an overarching concern for the liberals/progressives, but I also think there are people who sincerely believe they are doing good. What I take issue with, over and above the inherent wastefulness, is politicians who frame their nonsense in what my younger brother calls "happy horses**t."

Sue did this recently in an article on the pilot homeless housing project, in which she did not include the price of the project. When questioned on it, she praised the fact that their homeless plan would not cost anything. She's right, of course, the money already had been allocated and was going to be spent on trash collection. What was left out was the fact that the money has not been raised or allocated for the huge program the homeless project will turn into after our politicians decide the pilot program was a "huge success." It will be interesting to see how that "conclusion" will be spun, but that will be the conclusion and it will be spun.

It's a great idea, right? Teach them to pick up garbage and they will reintegrate into the work force. But ask yourself this: Who is going to hire them? Many of them have drug or alcohol problems, and that makes for an expensive and unreliable employee. The only employers left will be the government, and we're going to end up paying for that too. Perhaps Sue should teach them to patch potholes.

That won't happen, of course, because no construction company will touch them. What we should be doing is something for the working poor who are at risk of becoming homeless. There are countless households at risk; people who can't take one of the garden-variety crises that occur in everyday life. We should be spending money on keeping those people employed and housed.

Douglas McDevitt's picture
Joined: 05/24/2011
Posts: 54
Post rating: 28

Other " industrialized" countries...

Dear Bunky,

The rails systems you speak of in those other "industrialized" nations are HEAVILY subsidized by the states where they reside. Further more, most of those "industrialized" nations haven't a military and exist under the security of the United States of America. In addition, those other "industrialized" countries are socialist or communist dictatorial regimes that don't share our constitutional rights such as , I dunno, the right to free speech for example. So really, inserting the word "industrialized" is a truly meaningless comparison. Cheers!

Douglas

Bunky Svendsen's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 163
Post rating: 209

Subsidies Douglas?

Douglas

Google "subsidies in the U.S." and see how many companies in this country are subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Such as, Trumps golf course in New York, financed solely by taxpayers, for his benefit. So dont tell me that subsidies are the problem with getting things accomplished in this country. It is obvoiously not a problem for rich sports team owners,farmers,oil companies, exporters and on and on. My point from my earlier post was that we can continue to do great things in this country, if we have the will to do so. Im just glad that JFK didnt say "NO...we cant go to the moon. That would be TOO hard!". And "further more" is one word. enjoy!

Douglas McDevitt's picture
Joined: 05/24/2011
Posts: 54
Post rating: 28

We can agree!

Good morning Bunky,

Thank you for the grammar lesson! I've been afflicted by attention deficit most my life and I appreciate the constructive criticism.  And thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to explore this "google" you speak of.

I couldn't agree with you more regarding corporate subsidies. Even Trump corporate subsidies. And those subsides are disgustingly leveraged by both sides of the political isle

But the reality is, train tech is antiquated tech. It is waste of public funds, requires stealing private land, will never achieve "bullet" speeds, astronomically expensive, and the public would NEVER get a return for their "investment". The state legislature lied to the citizens of California. I saw through the lies. Most voters did not. Billions have been sunk into this project with absolutely nothing to show for it. Big government standard operating proceedure. "Furthermore" (Ha! I got it!) great things should not require great wastes of tax payer dollars.

Also, why would single mother of two, skilled in masonry, who lives in Kentucky, want her tax dollars going to a bullet train in California. How does that help her???

We already have modern day trains. They're called airplanes. This mode of transportation is far more environmentally and economically friendly (Next week, I'm flying to Virgina for a mere $225 dollars in less than 5 hours. That's amazing! No bullet train could do that)

What I ultimately took issue with is inserting the word "industrialized" and the condescension towards this fine county of ours. We are by no means perfect, but we are exceptional. Perhaps some day we'll agree on that!

Cheers!smiley

Fun fact: the space program was in large part a cover/proving ground for the U.S. intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile program with rocket technology stolen from the Germans after WWII. So yeah, I guess we have that to be grateful for. Google it!

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