Monday, March 14, 2005
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Assemblyman Raymond Haynes [In My Opinion, March 4] claims that California came to a “grinding halt” and “stopped improving its existing freeway system” during the eight years I was governor. Nothing could be further from the truth.
During that remarkable period in California history—1975 through 1982—our state, with only 10 percent of America’s population, produced one out of every four jobs in the nation and 102 miles of new freeway. That’s nearly three times the amount of freeway miles added than during the combined gubernatorial tenure of George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson.
Haynes also ignores the fact that as the number of freeway miles increases, so does the cost of maintenance. During my administration, we made sure that sufficient sums were spent to keep our roads in top shape. The big problem then was that gas tax revenues became totally insufficient to fund all the projects people wanted. What was true then is even truer today.
Haynes is fooling himself and his constituents if he thinks our roads can be maintained and freeways expanded without raising the gas tax. If he can convince businessman to build—at their expense—new toll roads, let’s hear the proposal. And, while he is at it, please check in with the voters to find out how much they are willing to pay—either in taxes or tolls or both.
As for planning nightmares, let the Terminator in Sacramento break those boxes and get things moving.
What Southern California needs is not cheesy political rhetoric but courage and wise action on the part of the governor and the legislature.
The writer is mayor of Oakland.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company