Helen Kerstein
(916) 319-8364
Forestry, Parks, and High Speed Rail
Frank Jimenez
(916) 319-8324
Highways and Roads, Recycling, Agriculture, and Toxics
Luke Koushmaro
(916) 319-8355
Mass Transportation, Traffic Enforcement, Statewide Planning and Infrastructure
Rachel Ehlers
(916) 319-8330
Deputy Legislative Analyst: Environment and Transportation



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Misleading Caltrans Budget Weakens Legislative Oversight

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.


Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill, Transportation Chapter

February 24, 2005 - Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill, Transportation Chapter


Transportation Funding Instability Continues

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.


California Highway Patrol: Enhancing Road Patrol Service Through Efficiencies

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.


Hard Decisions Before the Legislature: Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit

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.


Transportation Needs Stable Long-Term Funding

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.


Governor’s Transportation Proposal

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.


Improving the Driver Licensing Program

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.


DMV: Staffing Levels Down Wait Times Up

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


Pavement Maintenance: Protecting the State’s Investment

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.


Analysis of the 2004-05 Budget Bill, Transportation Chapter

February 18, 2004 - Analysis of the 2004-05 Budget Bill, Transportation Chapter


2003-04 Budget Overview

February 26, 2003 - Overview of 2003-04 Budget presented to the California Transportation Foundation.


State Emergency Telephone Number Account

February 19, 2003 - The administration proposes to increase the maximum 911 surcharge rate from 0.75 percent to 1 percent of intrastate phone charges. Since the proposal is inconsistent with current law and changes the nature of the 911 surcharge, we recommend the Legislature reject the proposal.


Project Delivery

February 19, 2003 - In recent years, the Caltrans has consistently rescheduled the delivery of many State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) projects to later years. This reduces the value of the STIP as a scheduling tool and renders Caltrans' annual capital outlay and capital outlay support budgets meaningless. We recommend that Caltrans and CTC report on the reasons for the high levels of project rescheduling. We further recommend budget bill language requiring CTC to identify in its next annual report strategies to reduce this level of rescheduling.


Special Transportation Programs

February 19, 2003 - We review the State Transit Assistance (STA) program, which is one of the state's primary sources of financial support for public transportation.