There are two consequential propositions on the November’s statewide ballot that active transportation supporters should be aware of. First, a proposition the Safe Routes Partnership supports: earlier this summer, advocates gathered enough signatures to qualify Prop 10, a repeal of Costa-Hawkins, the law that bans rent control on units first occupied in 1995 or later and that allows vacancy decontrol, meaning rent on a unit can increase to market rate whenever a new tenant moves in. Prop 10 will give our cities back the ability to stabilize rents in their housing stock. Active transportation infrastructure and programming can only be effective if people can afford to live within walking or biking distance to school and other key locations, but the housing crisis and accelerating displacement our state has been experiencing for a decade makes that affordability and proximity harder and harder to maintain. Accordingly, we urge our supporters to support Prop 10.
As much promise as Prop 10 holds for California, Prop 6 represents an equally large threat. Prop 6 would repeal most of SB 1, last year’s increase in the state gas tax which has injected long needed funds into crucial programs such as the Active Transportation Program. Projects that have already received funding via SB 1 would be cancelled and programs such as ATP would revert to their previous or lower funding levels. Since additional ATP projects were awarded through an augmentation of Cycle 3 using SB1 funding, these projects could be cancelled or it could be several years before a new cycle could take place. Cities and regions have already begun thoughtful planning processes for how to spend the additional SB 1 funds, which would have to be pulled back. While we pulled our support for SB 1 last year after a regressive provision regarding trucks was inserted at the last minute, Prop 6 would tellingly leave that provision on the books while removing all the positive funding increases and investments.
Moreover, if Prop 6 passes, all future gas tax increases and vehicle fees would be subject to a two-thirds popular vote at the ballot box, in addition to the legislative supermajority currently required. Practically speaking, that would mean eliminating any increase in transportation funding for decades. Prop 6 is a dangerous and cynical initiative that would kneecap our state just when it’s starting to move forward. We urge your opposition.