by Katy Grimes
As Appearing in the California Globe

Bicycle proponents blame large SUVs and more autos on the road, instead of fewer auto lanes

Sacramento, La Quinta and San Luis Obispo are among the cities that have been awarded gas tax dollars to create protected bike lanes by eliminating or reducing the size of lanes used by motor vehicles.

When Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-19-19 September 20, he directed the already controversial, voter-approved gas tax money away from fixing local highways (as voters were promised) in favor of rail projects. Simultaneously, cities have been using the funding not to improve roads or increase auto lanes, but instead for ongoing “road diets” and increasing bicycle lanes.

But the attempt to get California drivers out of their cars and onto public transit or bicycles isn’t working out as central planners hoped.

Is Newsom Punishing More Conservative Regions?

Newsom’s latest road plan for California eliminates two important highway expansion projects on vital freight corridors in Central California. Plans to increase stretches of Highway 99 from four to six lanes in the Central Valley have been put on the back burner.

“Governor Newsom is intentionally starving us out of our roads,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson told California Globe in October. “Voters approved SB 1 with the promise that our crumbling highways would get the attention they deserve. Instead of building capacity, our gas tax funds are being siphoned off to fund Newsom’s favored pet-projects,” Patterson said. “Governor Newsom’s promise not to forget about the Central Valley is full of hot air, just like his climate plan.”

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