Proposition 91 on the Feb. 5 ballot was intended to prevent the state Legislature and governor from diverting taxes designated for transportation needs to nontransportation uses.

In a year in which the Legislature and governor can be counted on to desperately seek every conceivable alternative source of funds to address the state's looming $14 billion deficit, Prop. 91 sounds like a reasonable way to guarantee that money already designated for one use will not be used for other purposes.

That was the reasoning in 2006 when the proposition's proponents circulated petitions to qualify the measure for the ballot. But then voters approved Prop. 1A in November 2006.
"[T]hat also accomplished what Prop. 91 set out to do," according to Mark Watts and Jim Earp, the official proponents of Prop. 91. Prop. 1A was approved, 77 percent to 23 percent.

The passage of Prop. 1A in 2006 makes Prop. 91 unnecessary, according to Mr. Watts and Mr. Earp, who explain in their official ballot argument: "Sacramento can no longer take our gas tax dollars and use those funds for non-transportation purposes. Prop. 91 is no longer needed."

For that reason, the initiative's own advocates now recommend a "no" vote on Prop. 91. The California Chamber of Commerce also recommends a "no" vote because "the measure is no longer needed." There is no counterargument on the ballot.

We agree with Prop. 91's proponents. Transportation funds appear to have been protected when voters overwhelmingly approved Prop. 1A in 2006. There is no need to repeat the protection. For that reason, we recommend a "no" vote on Prop. 91.