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January 19, 2006 - The new federal transportation act (SAFETEA-LU), enacted in August 2005, will provide $23.4 billion in federal funds to California through 2009 for highways, transit, and transportation safety. This represents a 40 percent increase in federal funding each year for transportation over the previous federal program. In addition to increasing federal funding to the state, SAFETEA-LU presents opportunities for financing transportation through nontraditional funding sources and expediting project delivery. There are a number of issues for the Legislature to consider when implementing the act in California. We discuss these issues and make recommendations where further legislative actions are warranted.
January 3, 2006 - There has been much interest recently both by the Governor and the Legislature in investing in the state’s infrastructure and using bonds to do so. This reflects both the state’s large current and future infrastructure needs and the key role that bonds will inevitably have to play in financing them. This brief answers a number of common questions related to using bonds to fund infrastructure. These questions include the overall nature of the infrastructure needs facing California, the different options for paying for them, and key issues and concerns associated with using more bonds.review infrastructure
May 6, 2005 - PowerPoint presentation describing the status of transportation funding.
March 31, 2005 - Presented to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on March 30, 2005.
February 24, 2005 - The budget displays transportation funds inconsistently, making it impossible to determine Caltrans’ total expenditures in a given year or to accurately compare different years. Legislative oversight is severely hampered by these inconsistent displays. We recommend the enactment of legislation requiring transportation expenditures to be displayed according to standard budget display requirements.
February 22, 2005 - The administration proposes to suspend $1.3 billion in Proposition 42 transportation funding and to reduce the General Fund's commitment to repay transportation loans in the near term. This would help the General Fund condition but restrict already limited transportation funding and increase near-term funding uncertainty. The administration also proposes changing the State Constitution to protect transportation funding in the long run by preventing future suspensions of Proposition 42. We recommend that the administration provide information to the Legislature that would allow it to determine (1) the effect of the Governor's proposals on the size of the transportation program and (2) TCRP project funding requirements in 2005-06. In order to provide long-term transportation funding stability while freeing up General Fund revenue for other purposes, we continue to recommend (1) the repeal of Proposition 42, (2) an increase of the gas tax to generate an amount of funding equivalent to Proposition 42, and (3) adjusting the gas tax for inflation.
January 31, 2005 - We suggest a number of measures to address workload growth in CHP's road patrol program. Most of these changes give the Legislature the opportunity to increase in-view patrols with existing levels of funding for CHP. Specifically, by making various changes to CHP's current policies, processes, and procedures—as well as to the way it allocates and uses uniformed and nonuniformed staff—the department can free up substantial resources, potentially in the hundreds of uniformed officers, for proactive patrols, thereby enhancing CHP's road patrol service throughout the state.
January 24, 2005 - The administration recently estimated that the toll bridge seismic retrofit program will require an additional $3.2 billion to complete and has recommended changing the Bay Bridge's design to save money. The Legislature faces two key decisions: (1) whether to approve a redesign of the Bay Bridge east span and (2) how to fund the program's completion. Redesigning the Bay Bridge could save money, but also raises the risk of cost and schedule increases that could more than offset the savings. Funding should come from both state and local sources, and the Legislature has several options regarding the sources used and the amount to provide from each.
February 18, 2004 - State transportation funding has not kept pace with increasing travel for various reasons, including the fund transfers noted above. Stabilizing transportation funding would increase the efficiency of transportation expenditures. We recommend the Legislature (1) ask voters to repeal Proposition 42, (2) replace the lost transportation revenue with an increase in the gas tax, and (3) index the gas tax to prevent future erosion of transportation revenues relative to travel demand.
February 18, 2004 - In both the mid-year cuts submitted in November 2003 and in the 2004-05 Governor's Budget, the administration has proposed to use a number of transportation funds to provide about $2 billion in one-time General Fund aid over the current and budget years. This includes suspending in 2004-05 the transfer of $1.1 billion derived from the sales tax on gasoline to the Transportation Investment Fund.
February 18, 2004 - The customer service, driver safety, and cost effectiveness of the DMV’s driver licensing process can be improved. We recommend the department report at budget hearings on the viability of making administrative changes to reduce the millions of in-person visits at field offices. We further recommend the enactment of legislation for various fees to encourage fewer in-person visits at field offices and offset costs related to the program.
February 18, 2004 - Every year over 30 million customers visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) field offices. Staff reductions in recent years have caused average customers wait times to grow significantly, from 35 minutes in 2001-02 to a projected 80 minutes in 2004-05. We recommend that the Legislature reexamine the levels of service to be provided by DMV. If the Legislature determines that current wait times and overall service levels are unacceptable, we recommend the Legislature restore selected field office positions
February 18, 2004 - Pavement maintenance protects the taxpayers’ investment in the highway system and can reduce long-term costs by postponing the need for more expensive roadway rehabilitation. Poorly maintained roadways increase costs to motorists for vehicle repair, costing drivers in Los Angeles or San Jose an average of more than $700 a year for instance. There is now a backlog of $587 million in pavement maintenance work. We recommend Caltrans refocus its maintenance efforts by developing an investment plan for highway maintenance. We also recommend Caltrans develop performance measures that link the state’s investment to the resulting quality of the highway system.