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EDITORIAL DEBATABLE BUDGET CUTS SLASHING STATE TRANSIT HURTS ALMOST EVERYONE.

THE state Senate and Assembly wrangled over tax breaks for Hollywood and Silicon Valley in the overdue budget last week. But what they should have been wrangling over were the $1.3 billion in cuts to the state's transportation funds.

The $145 billion spending plan that was subject to dramatic debate last week diverts $1.3 billion in the gasoline sales tax that is supposed to be used for transportation into other parts of the general fund. Los Angeles' share of that loss is roughly $336 million.

The governor and Republican legislators -- who demanded the fund shift -- are wise to seek to slow spending and cut down the debt. But it's shortsighted to rob the gas tax fund to do it. Tax credits for Hollywood might be sexy, but everyday Californians consistently place traffic at the top of the list of the state's problems.

In just L.A. alone, the cuts would jeopardize the widening of the Golden State Freeway in Los Angeles where it bottlenecks just north of the Orange County line and the Westside's exposition light-rail line that commuters are desperately hoping will ease traffic on the infamously congested Interstate 10.

There are few things the state funds that affect so many people every single day as transportation, whether they are drivers stuck in a jam or bus riders late to work because of fewer routes. Traffic congestion affects individual health as well as Earth's, and overall reduces quality of life.

We wish lawmakers would start putting the public interest ahead of special interests for a change.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 23, 2007
Words:259
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