California Decides How Voters Impact Infrastructure Projects


Proposition 53 is a statewide ballot measure that asks voters to consider whether the state may sell revenue bonds for projects expected to cost over $2 billion.  This ballot measure would specifically apply to all projects financed, owned, operated, or managed by the state as well as those of joint agencies formed between the state and localities, another state, or the federal government.

Under the California Constitution, state general obligation bonds need voter approval before the state can use them to pay for a project. State revenue bonds, however, do not currently need voter approval under existing state law.

On November 8, voters in California will be given the choice of maintaining status quo (casting a “no” vote) or requiring that projects exceeding $2 billion receive voter approval for bonds to be sold (casting a “yes” vote). The ASCE Region 9 Board of Governors has issued an open letter to members encouraging a “no” vote on this measure.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports financially responsible actions by federal, state and local governments to meet America’s infrastructure needs.  These actions should support established project and program management principles, including new service and delivery models, innovative financing, appropriate research and technology transfer, and should conform to the principles of sustainability.  For this reason, ASCE opposes Proposition 53 and encourages voters to cast a “no” vote.

Investment in America’s infrastructure has been deferred and has not focused on either the demand for new facilities and services or the maintenance and repair needs of the aging infrastructure systems.  The results are evident in traffic and airport congestion, unsafe bridges and dams, substandard educational facilities, deteriorating roads and inadequate utility systems. Let’s not further deter or delay project completion by requiring funding receive voter approval – something that only comes around every two years.

When you head to the polls on November 8, remember to cast a “no” vote on Proposition 53.

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