SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL) and its Regional Collaboratives, a public policy brain trust of organizational and community leaders from every urban, metropolitan and rural region in the state, announced today that infrastructure investment is its Number One priority for 2006.
CCRL Chairman David Abel says, "This year, we have an historic opportunity to improve the economic and quality of life prospects for millions of existing and future generations of Californians by championing state bonds, and associated legislation, that will significantly invest in our infrastructure improvement needs. The only real challenge we face to the successful passage of a meaningful infrastructure investment program is partisan politics."
Specifically at issue are the state's streets and highways that are not only in critical disrepair, but more often than not serve as poorly planned parking lots with potholes than serviceable means of transporting people and/or goods; water resources, facilities and levees that are critically at-risk; and schools and government buildings, many of which are antiquated and unable to accommodate the increasing numbers of families, children and elderly that move to California every year.
Rising costs of building materials, labor - and labor-related workers' compensation rates, health care benefits and pensions - make the passage of an infrastructure investment bond critical for this year. "Costs related to any infrastructure investment will only increase as time passes; should the Legislature stonewall action on these bond measures - and associated legislation, the financing for these improvements may be prohibitive."
CCRL and its Regional Collaboratives have identified the following core principles on Infrastructure Investment Bonds and Policies:
- Infrastructure bonds must be strategic, taking into account long-term needs and plans, as well as the integration of approaches that impact everything from the state's transportation needs to water, and schools.
- Infrastructure plans must be guided by the needs and priorities of the state's diverse regions: urban, metropolitan and rural . ideally, with collaborative regional decision-making to foster greater interdependency in and among our communities.
- State investments should also be used to leverage additional state, local, federal resources . and funds.
- The state's investments may also be used to leverage substantial private sector investment.
- The state's investment should be allocated in a manner that fairly distributes the benefits and burdens of infrastructure investments among regions, and diverse income groups, cultures and populations.
Op ed: Will Partisan Politics Transform California