Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a law that will require the University of California to be more transparent in how it reports costs and how it deals with the state auditor, a measure that was introduced in the wake of a scathing audit of the UC president's office this spring.
The measure, AB 1655 by Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), also will require UC to use publicly available financial information when it publishes its biennial report on the costs of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.
Where is the equity? That is what East Bay legislators have been asking proponents of Regional Measure 3 (RM3) to increase our six state-owned bridge tolls by up to $3 per crossing. Unfortunately, the problem is even worse than most realize and the wrong people are being asked to foot the bill for the Bay Area’s transportation problems.
SB 595, currently under discussion in the Legislature, would require the nine Bay Area Counties to hold a referendum on RM3 next year. Massive investment in the Bay Area’s transportation infrastructure is critically needed but a hike in the bridge tolls would disproportionately put the burden of financing this investment on East Bay residents. As an East Bay legislator, this inequity is not something that I can support.
Among the bill’s critics is Concord Assemblymember Tim Grayson, who wrote in an op-ed earlier this month that toll hikes stick it to bridge users while non-bridge users reap the benefits.
“Politically this makes sense: the fewer people made to pay and the more people who benefit, the more likely it is that the measure will pass,” writes Grayson. “[But] is it fair to place the burden so disproportionately on one segment of our region?”
State lawmakers approved a bill that will ask voters to OK a $3 toll hike on all Bay Area bridges except on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Last week the state Legislature passed SB 595, which will now ask voters in all nine Bay Area counties to decide on whether to phase in the rate increase. For some local commuters, that could add up to as much as $9 to cross the Bay, money which will then go toward beefing up the region's existing infrastructure and transit agencies.
Voters will now get the chance in either November or June of next year to pass the bill with a simple majority.
The bill has already faced pushback from local commuter advocates and Bay Area lawmakers, with California State Assembly members Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon), Tim Grayson (D-Concord) and Jim Frazier (D-Brentwood) voting no on the measure.
If you live in the Bay Area, you’ll be hearing a lot about Senate Bill 595 over the next year or so. If you’re a regular user of any of the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges — that’s all of them, except the Golden Gate Bridge — you’ll want to pay close attention.
Several Contra Costa County legislators — Assemblymember Tim Grayson and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier among them — opposed SB 595, saying that it’s 1) a regressive tax and 2) a ripoff for the residents of the East Bay.
As Gov. Jerry Brown pushes an international climate-change agenda, he faces a crucial test at home: ensuring that California’s signature program to tackle global warming survives into the next decade. Brown is fighting for a deal this month to extend the state’s cap-and trade program, which forces power plants, factories and refineries to pay to pollute and is set to expire in 2020. It has not come easily. He needs two-thirds of the Senate and Assembly to approve a complex proposal — one sure to have implications not just for planet Earth but also for Californians’ health and pocketbooks.
Our recent report about BART getting behind a proposed $1 to $3 hike in Bay Area bridge tolls to help pay for hundreds of new rail cars had Steve Jasik of Menlo Park reaching for his calculator — and making a startling discovery.