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Road Repair Deal At Capitol Still Elusive

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins chat Monday on the Senate floor.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

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.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio