• Two Months Is Too Little When It Comes To Transportation Infrastructure Funding

    November 30, 2015

    What is a little more waiting going to matter, when one considers we have been waiting for a new multi-year surface transportation reauthorization for more than six years? Read more

    Two Months is too Late graphic

     

  • Caltrans Releases Plans Detailing Critical Infrastructure

    November 30, 2015

    Funding Shortfalls Facing California’s Highway System.  According to projections detailed in plans released, Caltrans will need approximately $80 billion over the next ten years to address current and future needs of the state highway system—a projected funding shortfall of nearly $60 billion with available revenue.

    The 2015 Ten-Year State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) Plan outlines a strategy for improving roads, addressing major rehabilitation work on the state highway system and supporting Caltrans’ sustainability goal through projects that bring long-lasting and smart mobility improvements. The plan identifies approximately $8 billion annually needed to fund these necessary improvements and preventative maintenance activities over the next ten years. However, in light of a shortfall of approximately $5.7 billion per year in funding, the plan warns that the state highway system will deteriorate and necessitate much more expensive remedies in the future.

    “This funding shortfall presents a serious challenge to Caltrans and this state’s transportation system,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “At Caltrans, we have a “fix it first” mentality, putting transportation dollars where they can be most cost-effective: on preventative maintenance to our existing infrastructure. Our maintenance dollars can only go so far, however, and California is facing much more expensive repairs to its infrastructure in the future due to a growing backlog of necessary repairs.

    Excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel are the primary revenue source for Caltrans, funding the maintenance and operation of the state highway system as well as the administration of the department. These revenues are declining as a result of reduced fuel consumption due to more energy-efficient vehicles and increased alternative fuel use. California is currently evaluating funding alternatives which may include increasing the gas tax or registration fees, or switching to a mileage-based fee structure.

    The State Highway Operation and Protection Program primarily funds rehabilitation projects and capital improvements along the state highway system that do not add capacity to the system. Projects largely involve pavement and structure/bridge rehabilitation, but also encompass safety and some types of mobility improvements as well as emergency repair. The SHOPP is based on a ten-year plan (today’s released document) that identifies performance goal-based needs over a ten-year period, with the plan updated every two years.

    Caltrans’ Maintenance Program also preserves California’s transportation infrastructure through preventative maintenance and repair of the state highway system. Proper maintenance, as detailed in the 2015 Five-Year Maintenance Plan (also released today), can reduce the amount of the more expensive rehabilitation work done by the SHOPP.

    Caltrans constructs, operates and maintains more than 50,000 lane miles of the State Highway System, the core of California’s complex, multi-modal transportation system. This includes more than 13,000 bridges and structures, 30,000 acres of roadside landscaping, 205,000 culverts and drainage facilities and 87 roadside rest areas. The department’s transportation infrastructure also includes maintenance stations, equipment shops, traffic management centers, transportation materials laboratories and testing facilities and office buildings. Much of this system is over half a century old, built in the 1950s through early 1970s, to serve California’s growing population and expanding economy.

    The 2015 Ten-Year SHOPP Plan can be accessed at http://www.dot.ca.gov/docs/2015_Ten-Year_SHOPP.pdf and the 2015 Five-Year Maintenance Plan at http://www.dot.ca.gov/docs/2015_Five-Year_Maintenance_Plan.pdf.

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  • Major State Senate Transportation Funding Proposal Moves Forward Today

    November 30, 2015

    by Mark Watts.  The Senate Governance & Finance Committee today approved Senate Bill 16, a comprehensive transportation funding package which provides $3 billion – $3.5 billion annually to state and local highway and roadway preservation and repair over the next five years.

    SB 16, authored by Senate Transportation & Housing Chair Jim Beall, would generate new revenue for transportation by increasing several taxes and fees for the next five years.  Specifically, this bill would:

    • Recapture truck weight fees from transportation bond debt service for safety projects and highway repairs;
    • Raise the excise tax on gasoline by 10 cents in year one;
    • Raise the excise tax on diesel fuel by 12 cents in year one;
    • Raise vehicle license fees by .35% over five years;
    • Raise vehicle registration fees by $35;
    • Establish a new vehicle registration fee of $100 for zero-emission vehicles; and
    • Repay transportation loans.

    Speaker Atkins and Assembly Democrats Weigh in on Addressing State and Local Transportation Repair Needs

    Late yesterday, Assembly Speaker Atkins discussed the budget priorities for 2015-16. She highlighted the work she has been coordinating with Assembly Transportation Chair Jim Frazier and said:

    “Assembly Democrats will provide a ‘down-payment’ on the Speaker’s $2 billion transportation plan by returning most, if not all, the Truck Weight Fees to be used for roadway preservation and maintenance.”

  • Examining Beall’s Proposal On Deferred Road Repairs

    November 30, 2015

    California faces nearly $60 billion in deferred road repairs and the cost is going up every year. Now, a local state senator wants to do something about it. View NBC Video!

    NBCNewsBayAreaVideo

  • City of Sacramento Considering New Set of ‘Road Diets’

    November 30, 2015

    For years, Sacramento officials have been reducing lanes on major central city streets to slow traffic and give pedestrians and people on bikes more elbow room.  Read more

    BICYCLIST-Road Diet

  • Caltrans Award to Integrate Transit, Bicycling and Walking into Local Transportation Plans

    November 30, 2015

    Caltrans has awarded $9.8 million in Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants to support cities, counties, agencies and transit operators in their efforts to integrate transit, bicycling and walking into their local transportation plans. Read more

  • New ARTBA Analysis Examines Costs of Mobility

    November 30, 2015

    ARTBA-gastax2

    The average American driver is only being asked to contribute 1.2 percent of their annual cost to own and operate a motor vehicle to fund federal investments in highway and transit capital improvements. Read more

  • SB 16 Approved by Senate Transportation & Housing on a 6-1 Vote

    April 29, 2015

    Wake Up California-fix the roads!

    (Mark Watts, Transportation California)  The Senate Transportation & Housing Committee on a 6-1 vote approved SB 16, Senator Beall’s measure to provide additional highway and roadway preservation and maintenance funding. Read more

  • California Needs Volunteers To Test Road Charge

    April 23, 2015

    State Government Report

    Gas tax revenues are steadily declining in California and lawmakers are looking for other ways to fund road repairs. Now the state is creating a pilot program that would instead charge drivers based on the miles they drive. California Transportation Commissioner Jim Madaffer is leading the pilot effort. He says the gas tax isn’t working anymore.

    “We need a funding mechanism that kind of gets us back to when the gas tax was first implemented where it made sense. Everybody was getting 10 miles to a gallon in their car. And everybody put in gas only in their vehicles. So it was pretty fair,” he says. “Today, people such as myself driving an electric car for the last two years, I haven’t paid a dime. Well, that’s not right.”

    Governor Jerry Brown’s administration estimates California has a $59 billion road maintenance backlog.

    Ideally, Madaffer says, volunteers would sign up throughout the state so the road charge could be tested in a variety of situations. Details like whether volunteers would be reimbursed for the fee have not yet been decided.

    A pilot program must be in place by 2017. A final report must be presented to the Legisalture by 2018.

    This effort is an addition to several others being proposed by lawmakers. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has proposed charging drivers about $52 a year, with the money going to road repairs. Senator Jim Beall has authored a bill that would fund road maintenance through increased gas taxes and higher vehicle registration fees. Senator Bob Huff has introduced a Constitutional amendment to require funds designated for transportation be used for that purpose.

    Katie Orr

    Katie Orr covers everything from the Governor to state agencies. She received her Masters in Political Science from San Diego State University. In her spare time Katie enjoys wine tasting and shopping, though she tries not to combine the two.   Read Full Bio 
  • Lawmakers Tackle $59 billion Backup for Road Repairs

    April 15, 2015

    (KCRA) — California drivers will be the first to admit that roadways are in need of massive repair… Watch report: Pothole problems prompt lawmakers to consider extra funding – Read more