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Council likes Prop. 69 but balks at loss of local control over housing

Ceres City Council members voted last week to support Proposition 69, the constitutional amendment to restrict the newly enacted transportation funding to be restricted to transportation purposes only.

Proposition 69 was part of a legislative package that included Senate Bill 1, the controversial increase in gas tax and car registration to raise over $5 billion annually in transportation funding. Proposition 69 amends the California state Constitution to require that the Legislature spend revenues from the new diesel sales taxes and transportation improvement fees on transportation purposes. This requirement also applies to existing diesel sales tax revenues - not just those imposed by SB 1.

Proposition 69 also prohibits the state from loaning out these revenues (except for cash flow purposes), and using transportation improvement fee revenues to repay state transportation bonds without voter approval. The only way to change these requirements would be for the voters to approve another constitutional amendment in the future.
City Manager Toby Wells also gave the council an update on pending legislation in SB 827.

The housing bill was being heard in the Transportation Committee on which state Senator Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, sits. Ceres as well as a number of other cities sent letters in opposition to the bill authored by state Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. With SB 827 Wiener aims to increase the amount of housing units that can be built near public transportation stops by adding a "transit-rich bonus" that pushes up height limits beyond what local jurisdictions have approved. In San Francisco, for example, that means new housing developments could go up to eight stories across every inch of the city that is not a public park. City officials reject the bill because they say it is a direct attack on local control.
Wells calls the bill a "significant overreach."

The bill was killed in the Assembly Transportation Committee but will likely return next year, said Wells.