Proposition 51 sets aside 30 percent of the sales tax on new and used motor vehicles for improvements to roads, newer school buses, traffic congestion relief, better public transit and other traffic- and transit-related projects.

California’s multibillion-dollar budget crisis requires that the state make some choices about its spending. This proposition would take $420 million out of the General Fund for 2002-03 and $910 million the next year, increasing annually every year after, effectively locking the money away for use on specific transportation issues.

Proponents of Proposition 51 say that it will not raise taxes. But other programs and projects in need of funding will suffer since such a large sum of money would be set away for such a specific use.

Forty-eight percent of the money would be spent on improvements to mass transit that could alleviate many of California’s traffic and pollution problems. However, the measure poorly prioritizes the spending of the reserved money and locks away too much cash that could be used elsewhere for more important programs or emergency projects.

The Daily Nexus strongly opposes Proposition 51.