Gov. Davis asks Bush to reverse $620 million in highway cuts
SACRAMENTO(AP) — Gov. Gray Davis called a proposed $620 million federal budget cut for California highway construction “staggering” Tuesday and asked President George Bush to reverse his course.
Davis cited a California Department of Transportation estimate that the cuts could cause 20,000 layoffs in the state. In a letter to the president, he said the reductions could cause “significant harm” to the California and U.S. economy.
“California’s highway network plays an important role in supporting jobs and commerce across the nation,” Davis wrote Bush. “The loss of federal investment in California will clearly have ripple effects that would compound the effect of funding cuts in other states.”
The governor urged the president to restore the funding, calling it “essential that any and all steps be taken to prevent these cuts from taking place.”
Bush’s proposed $2.13 trillion budget for 2002-2003 cuts highway spending nationally by more than $9 billion. The cut reflects a steep drop in federal gasoline tax receipts across the United States. California’s federal allotment would fall by more than 25 percent.
Davis’ letter followed a similar protest Monday by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Pleasanton. Tauscher, a member of the House Transportation Committee, said Bush’s highway cuts come at the “wrong time” and will cost California jobs during a recession.
Davis noted that his new budget increases transportation funding this year in California by more than $1 billion. The governor said federal cuts would threaten the “considerable progress we have made as a result of our program.”
On the Net:
President Bush’s proposed budget: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb