Skip to comments.CA: Schwarzenegger signs bridge legislation, answers to muscle magazine deal
Posted on 07/18/2005 6:48:47 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
OAKLAND, Calif. - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation Monday authorizing the completion of a new eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, ending a months-long stalemate over how to pay the spiraling costs of the project.
The law protects the popular, but costly suspension design originally selected for the bridge, which the Republican governor once advocated ditching for a less expensive approach.
It also finances most construction cost overruns by raising tolls on nearly every other bridge in the San Francisco Bay area.
Schwarzenegger praised the bipartisan cooperation that produced the bridge plan and called for a similar approach to the state's other challenges.
"All this makes me a very happy governor today," he said at a signing ceremony where he was joined by Transportation Secretary Sunne McPeak, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and several other Bay Area legislators. "It shows once again that when we come together as a unified team, that nothing is impossible."
In a picturesque setting at the Port of Oakland with the bridge as a backdrop, Schwarzenegger also fielded several questions about his decision to forfeit a multi-million dollar contract with two bodybuilding magazines.
Schwarzenegger announced Friday he would no longer serve as executive editor of Flex and Muscle and Fitness magazines amid charges that the deal represented a serious conflict of interest.
Regulatory filings by the magazines' publisher, American Media, Inc., showed that Schwarzenegger's compensation as executive editor was tied directly to the magazines' ad sales, the vast majority which are for nutritional supplements.
Schwarzenegger signed the magazine contract two days before taking office as governor and vetoed legislation last year that would have restricted the use of such supplements in high school sports.
"It's the way it is in life - you encounter problems and you try to eliminate them as quickly as possible and then move on," Schwarzenegger said Monday about the magazine controversy. He added that he while he wasn't sorry about losing the approximately $8 million he was expected to reap in the five-year deal, first lady Maria Shriver was less sanguine.
"I have no problem about the money, but my wife has a little problem with that. She thinks it means less diamonds or something like that," Schwarzenegger said.
The legislation Schwarzenegger signed Monday cleared the way for the new bridge span, required to make the Bay Bridge safe if there is future earthquakes, to be completed by 2011. The state will contribute $630 million dollars to the project and the rest will be covered by a $1 hike to bridge tolls throughout the Bay Area beginning January 2007.
Reconstruction of the two-mile bridge span, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, has been plagued by delays and massive cost overruns. Originally budgeted at $2.6 billion, estimates now put the project as high as $8 billion. The toll increase was expected to produce about $2.2 billion.
Negotiations over how to pay for the bridge broke down earlier this year largely on partisan and geographic lines, with many Republicans and Southern California lawmakers insisting the burden should be shouldered exclusively by Bay Area taxpayers. The compromise measure delivered more state money than originally expected.
Speaking later with reporters, Perata said he wasn't hopeful that the bipartisan cooperation on the bridge deal would extend to negotiations over the special election Schwarzenegger has called for November 8.
The governor is pushing a package of initiatives aimed at curbing the power of Democratic lawmakers and public employee unions, but both sides have indicated a willingness to reach some compromise reform agreements that would eliminate the need for the governor's initiatives.
"We haven't made much progress, frankly, and we have very little time left to do it," Perata said. "The special election, I think, should be canceled and we ought to concentrate on next year."
Separately, Perata praised Schwarzenegger's decision to give up the magazine deal, saying the governor needed to get the matter behind him to tackle the state's problems.
"I'm glad he dispatched with it quickly. There's too much going on in the state to have any of these minor league controversies," Perata said. "That was a lot of money he turned down, but as he said to me once, 'You show Terminator on ABC and you'll make up for it immediately.'"
Flex Flex Flex
The tolls will continue to rise.
Even if the bridges get PAID for, the tolls will go up to fund some other project, like ferry boats or bicycle lanes.
It never ends.
Jaa.. next year we can set another new spending record .. if we all work together.
Hey, but the design looks so neato.. :)
It IS a neato design....and I wish all those commuters well as they LIVE on that bridge 15 hours a week. JAM time.
Hey, Perata wanted the whole state to pay for the new bridge though taxes. Making only Bay Area drivers pay for it in tolls is a big step in the right direction.
Originally budgeted at $2.6 billion, estimates now put the project as high as $8 billion. The toll increase was expected to produce about $2.2 billion.
Knew that was coming, not so much for conflict of interest as the crookedness of the supplement/muscle mags industry.
This ain't over.. if c'Rats and MSM get their way.
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