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May 10, 2011 - In November 2008, voters approved Proposition 1A, which allows the state to sell $9 billion in general obligation bonds to partially fund the development and construction of the high-speed rail system. In addition, the state has received roughly $3 billion from the federal government for its construction. We describe a number of problems that pose threats to the high-speed rail project’s successful development as envisioned by Proposition 1A and make several recommendations. We recommend that the Legislature direct the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) to renegotiate the terms of the federal funding awarded to the state by the Federal Rail Administration. We also recommend that the Legislature pass legislation this session that shifts the responsibility for the day-to-day and strategic development of the project from HSRA to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
February 28, 2011 - Presented to: Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Hon. Mark DeSaulnier, Chair Assembly Transportation Committee Hon. Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
January 25, 2011 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation. January 26, 2011.
January 25, 2011 - Recently, the Legislature enacted a package of changes known as the “fuel tax swap” to achieve General Fund relief. However, the passage of ballot measures in November 2010 potentially undoes portions of the tax swap package. In response to these ballot measures, the Governor’s January 2011-12 budget proposes statutory changes to recapture the use of transportation funds to help balance the state’s budget. In this brief we describe and evaluate these recent changes and the Governor’s proposal. We also provide additional options that the Legislature may wish to consider that offer more solutions to achieve General Fund relief.
December 22, 2010 - Presented to: Hon. Alan Lowenthal Senator, 27th District
June 7, 2010 - Presented to Budget Conference Committee
March 5, 2010 - In this short webcast, analysts Eric Thronson and Jessica Digiambattista discuss the recently published LAO report "The 2010-11 Budget: Transportation."
March 3, 2010 - We review the 2010-11 budget request of the High-Speed Rail Authority.
March 2, 2010 -
The Governor’s budget proposes $18 billion in expenditures (mostly from special funds) for transportation programs in 2010‑11. We recommend the Legislature (1) reduce Caltrans' capital outlay support (COS) staffing by about 1,500 (and $200 million a year) to align with actual workload if Caltrans does not provide workload justification for its COS budget; (2) reject the Governor's request to appropriate $3.45 billion in future federal transportation funds for public-private partnerships because this program does not appear to be permissible under current law and because details are not available regarding how the majority of the funds (about $2.5 billion) would be used; and (3) adopt new reporting requirements for the High-Speed Rail Authority to increase accountability.
(Short video introducing this report)
January 21, 2010 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Hon. Denise Moreno Ducheny, Chair
January 20, 2010 - Presented to: Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Hon. Alan Lowenthal, Chair
January 12, 2010 - Presented to: Assembly Transportation Committee, Hon. Mike Eng, Chair
November 23, 2009 - We reviewed the progress of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), local road agencies, and transit operators in their use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds in the months since the enactment of the federal stimulus programs and found that (1) Caltrans has made good progress in the use of almost $1 billion made available to the department, already putting out to bid contracts for 92 percent of the funds; (2) local road agencies have been slower to use their obligated ARRA transportation funds, with contracts for only one–third of their funds out to bid; and (3) the progress of transit system operators is unclear due to a lack of complete information. From the data we were able to compile, however, the operators appear to be making good progress. We recommend that the Legislature hold oversight hearings on the use of ARRA transportation funds to determine if any actions are necessary to ensure that California meets various ARRA deadlines.
June 10, 2009 - Presented to Budget Conference Committee
May 28, 2009 - Presented to Budget Conference Committee Budget Conference Committee