Anthony Cannella

California math: 1 vote = $500 million in road, rail work

How much is one vote worth in the California state Senate? A half-billion dollars, if it's linked to a big tax hike to pay for overdue road repairs.

The key vote to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees came late Thursday from Sen. Anthony Cannella, a little-known Republican and the only GOP member of the heavily Democratic Legislature to vote for the bill.

In return he won a promise of $400 million for a railroad extension into his Central Valley district in California's agricultural heartland and a $100 million parkway project for the University of California, Merced.

Another $427 million will go to the overlapping districts represented by Sen. Richard Roth of...