California recently tried to take away $1 billion (billion!) in gas-tax funds from transit -- but no, the 3rd district court of appeal just ruled, the state can't do that. Voters approved the gas tax specifically to fund buses and trains, but so far Arnold's stolen $152 million from Muni, and $30 million from BART last year alone. The governor plans to appeal the ruling; so when fares to go up and buses break down, you know who to blame.
Sadly, though, life is still difficult for our local transit agencies. California got $2.6 billion to spend on transportation in the stimulus package, and a new study shows that so far the money's going towards sprawl and freeways, rather than to mass transit. Goodbye neighborhoods, hello strip malls! One state official compared this to "adding a new wing to a house when the roof is falling in," which is very encouraging. Thanks to public pressure, they re-directed more funds to bike paths and transit, but still: 96 percent is going towards roads, and of that, 42 percent is new construction. Ugh.
· State cannot divert gas tax revenue from transit, court rules [Merc]
· Transportation funds misdirected, analysis says [SF Gate]
· The States And the Stimulus: How California and Other States Spent Surface Transportation Funds in the First 120 Days [CalPIRG]
· CA Transit Operators Win in Court but Face Challenge by Governor [Streetsblog]