Monday, October 15

Plan targets aging infrastructure


Rebuild California plan on Nov. 7 ballot finances public works, effects UCLA campus

With California’s population projected to increase by 20
million over the next 20 years, the state legislature has drafted
the Rebuild California plan, five proposals on the Nov. 7 ballot
which aim to revitalise the state’s aging infrastructure
without increasing taxes.

“California’s population will reach 50 million in
the next 20 years ““ twice what our current infrastructure was
designed for,” said a statement in favor of the Rebuild
California written jointly by Marion Bergeson, chairwoman of the
California Transportation Commission, Alan Lloyd, former chairman
of the California Air Resources Board and Allan Zaremberg,
president of the California Chamber of Commerce.

The propositions, which would be funded by $37.3 billion of
issued bonds, would help improve public infrastructure and services
such as transportation, low-cost housing, public education and
disaster protection. The proposals differ from past infrastructure
bills which contained measures to reimburse their cost.

With Election Day just over a week away, both leading
gubernatorial candidates have shown support for Rebuild
California.

The candidates and other proponents of the plan stress the
importance of improving the infrastructure now before the
population balloons.

“It can’t be rebuilt overnight. That’s why
we’ve got to start now,” the advocates wrote in a
statement.

But critics of the initiative are concerned about the cost of
the plan, especially given the budget deficit, and say the plan
does not thoroughly address the problems California will face as
its population booms.

“They haven’t really thought this through,”
said Dan Mitchell, Ho-Su Wu professor of management and public
policy. “They’re just putting together nice things and
charging it off for the future without thinking about where the
revenue is going to come from.”

Both Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides and
incumbent Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have incorporated
advocacy for the Rebuid California plan into their campaigns.

“We have to realize the fact that for the last 30 years we
really haven’t built that much, and we haven’t really
invested in infrastructure,” Schwarzenegger said
Wednesday.

Angelides has also shown his support for the propositions.

“In order to provide for the workforce we need in the 21st
century, it’s important that this measure passes,” said
Brian Brokaw, spokesman for the Angelides campaign.

One of the initiatives, Proposition 1D, would affect UCLA
directly as it would provide $38.6 for the construction of the Life
Sciences Replacement Building on the site of Hershey Hall’s
west wing. The funding for UCLA would come out of a total of $690
million in funding for the repair and construction of UC
facilities. The proposition would provide an additional $200
million for UC medical facilities.

Rebuild California advocates said these proposals are urgently
needed, despite financial concerns.

“It will make very significant investments in
infrastructure that has been neglected for too long,” said
Jim Earp, executive director of California Alliance for Jobs.
“We are hopeful that they will all pass, but if any of them
don’t we’ll go back to the drawing board and rework
them. These measures are absolutely critical.”

Another source of opposition to the initiative comes from
environmental groups who say they do not believe the plan will do
enough to protect the environment as California’s population
continues to grow.

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