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February 23, 2006 - The California Highway Patrol (CHP) proposes to begin in 2006-07 a five-year, $491 million project to modernize its radio system. We concur that CHP’s radio system needs improving; however, it is not clear to what extent the proposed solution supports the state’s goal of interoperability among public safety agencies. We recommend that the Director of the Office of Emergency Services, in his role as chair of the Public Safety Radio Strategic Planning Committee, report to the Legislature at budget hearings on how CHP’s proposal supports the state’s goals.
February 23, 2006 - In recent years, transportation funding has been both constrained and uncertain due to various factors including the use of transportation funds to help the General Fund. The 2006-07 Governor’s Budget proposes to reverse this trend. Specifically, it proposes to fully fund Proposition 42 and partially repay a previous loan of transportation funds to the General Fund. In addition, as part of his Strategic Growth Plan, the Governor proposes to provide $12 billion in general obligation bond funding and $14 billion in revenue bond funding for state transportation over the next ten years. Furthermore, he proposes to permanently firewall Proposition 42 funds after 2006-07 by prohibiting suspension of the transfer from the General Fund. We highlight a number of policy issues that the Legislature should consider as it reviews the Governor's proposals.
January 30, 2006 - We review infrastructure proposals in the Strategic Growth Initiative related to transportation. Presented to the Assembly Transportation Committee, Hon. Jenny Oropeza, Chair
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.