May 17, 2006 - From the May, 2006 issue

Governor Signs Off On The State's Infrastructure Bond Package; MIR Readers Share Their Views

With the Legislature's approval of the historic $37 billion bond package to repair and upgrade the state's infrastructure, the hard work of campaigning for the bonds and, eventually, allocating their funds begins. As state and local officials campaign for the bonds and consider how to spend them, MIR asked a group of readers to assess the bonds' significance and potential, and is pleased to present their responses to the following question: "With a population of 37 million and growing and infrastructure designed for 25 million, how wisely crafted and significant of a down payment is the state infrastructure bond package?"

"I believe this bond election will mark the most important plebiscite for California in the last century. It really will determine if we have a future or not."

Jim Hankla

Long Beach Harbor Commissioner

"The State Infrastructure Bond is a 21st landmark event. It is the first significant bipartisan legislation of the century. It signals a shared vision to invest in California's future. It is a commitment to decent, affordable housing, education and jobs.

"The true promise of the bond, however, will be measured by the long-term outcomes. Will it move California from car dependent to mass transit and pedestrian friendly? Will new schools and housing destroy or strengthen community? Will we recycle our urban infrastructure or encourage sprawl? Will our environment be better off? Will it put Californians to work? The return on this public investment will be dependent upon answers to these and similar questions."

Denise Fairchild

Community Development Technologies Center

"Passage of the infrastructure bond is critical to ensure our future economic growth and to preserve our sanity (how much traffic congestion can we stand?)."

Jack Kyser

Chief Economist, LAEDC

"How wisely the bond was crafted remains to be seen. At best, it is only a small down payment for 40 years of benign neglect of a transportation system that earlier cost Californians $300 billion. Much more remains to be done just to meet today's needs. If we are to meet tomorrow's needs much more will be required. The Governor's estimate in his state of the state speech totaling $222 billion is probably not far off."

David Fleming


Chair, California Center for Regional Leadership

MTA Boardmember

"The ballot package is a significant improvement over the Governor's hasty and slipshod wish list. Unfortunately, the Legislature's compromise represents where California is today-diverse, divided and without a unifying vision for our future. The special interests each extracted their share, but the common interest went unrepresented. We might have saved a great deal of money by using a little more brainpower."

Rick Cole

Ventura City Manager

"Down payment is the right perspective. This is just the beginning of the ‘infrastructure awareness' era. Legislators need to make funding for infrastructure a habit;; just like putting money in your own savings account before paying your bills. To go on doing otherwise, by the legislators or for oneself, is just flat out irresponsible. This was a very significant move for this legislature and time will prove if they and their followers have the guts to stay the course."

Bonny Herman

Executive Director, CCRL

"This great bond is what can happen when Democrats and Republicans work together. California will be a better place to live because of the work we did in Sacramento. Sen. Perata, legislative leaders and the entire legislature deserve credit for this momentous accomplishment."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

May 16 Signing Ceremony


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