Halfway through the California Legislature's final month of work, lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown appear no closer to a deal on transportation funding than when they first returned from summer recess two weeks ago.
The governor and legislative Democrats want to raise new revenues for road and highway repairs – such as gas tax and vehicle fee increases.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says she thinks a deal is reachable. “If we would shut out the chatter and focus on the work that we need to do to fund transportation, I think we can come to a bipartisan agreement on how to get there,” Atkins told Capital Public Radio Monday.
“I’m not discouraged based on everything I’m hearing that we can’t get there – if we really want to,” Atkins added.
“I’m hopeful, but I’m increasingly pessimistic,” says Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen. She says Republicans have come up with $6 billion a year in existing state funds – without raising taxes.
“It doesn’t make sense to negotiate with yourselves,“ Olsen says. “And so we’re calling on them – please, put out a plan. We’re serious about solving this problem for Californians. Let’s get it done.”
Democrats would need Republican votes in each chamber to pass tax or fee increases.