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The 2018-19 Budget: Transportation Proposals


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The 2019-20 Budget: Transportation Proposals

February 26, 2019 - The Governor's budget provides a total of $23.5 billion from various fund sources for all transportation departments and programs in 2019-20. This is a net increase of $1.4 billion, or 6 percent, over estimated current-year expenditures. In this report, we (1) review the Governor's 2019-20 transportation proposals, including those for the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA), the implementation of REAL ID, and the high-speed rail project, and (2) identify issues for legislative consideration.

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The 2015-16 Budget: Transportation Proposals

March 2, 2015 - In this report, we review the Governor's 2015-16 budget proposals for various transportation departments and programs, including the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA), California Highway Patrol, and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Based on our review, we make recommendations for legislative consideration and oversight.

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A Review of Caltrans’ Vehicle Insurance Costs

December 5, 2017 - In this report, we (1) describe various aspects of Caltrans’ vehicle usage, including the types of vehicles the department owns and its policies for employees to drive them; (2) provide an overview of the state’s vehicle liability self‑insurance program in which Caltrans participates; (3) examine the recent increases in Caltrans’ insurance premiums; and (4) identify options to contain the department’s premium costs. In accordance with the reporting language, we focus on Caltrans’ vehicle liability insurance costs in the report, though some of our findings could have implications for vehicle insurance costs for other state departments as well as state liability for other incidents besides vehicle collisions.

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Road Charge Pilot Program Update

September 15, 2016 - In 2014, legislation was enacted that requires the California State Transportation Agency to conduct a road charge pilot program to study the feasibility of charging individuals for each mile they drive as an alternative to fuel taxes. The road charge pilot program officially began in July 2016 and will continue through March 2017. In this post, we provide an update on the pilot program.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Analysis of Governor's Criminal Justice Proposals

February 19, 2019 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.

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A Review of the State's Active Transportation Program

March 1, 2019 - The state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP)—administered by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), in coordination with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)—provides funding to infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects that facilitate travelers being physically active through biking and walking. Some of the primary goals of the program include increasing the number of walking and biking trips, increasing safety and mobility, and enhancing public health. In approving the 2018-19 budget package, the Legislature directed our office to review certain aspects of the program.

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The 2018-19 Budget: Overview of the Governor's Budget

January 12, 2018 - This publication is our office’s initial response to the Governor’s 2018-19 budget. In the proposed plan, the Governor places a high priority on building reserves, proposing a total reserve balance of nearly $16 billion. We believe the Governor’s continued focus on building more reserves is prudent in light of economic and federal budget uncertainty. In addition to building reserves, the Governor’s proposed budget allocates sizeable funding increases available within the constitutionally required guarantee for schools and community colleges and supports a variety of new infrastructure projects. This report also discusses how new federal tax changes may affect state revenues and reasons why we believe there could be more resources available in May.

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The 2018-19 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 15, 2018 -

In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. We begin by providing an overview of higher education in California. In the next four sections, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for the three public higher education segments and the California Student Aid Commission. In each of these sections, we provide relevant background, describe and assess the proposals, and make associated recommendations. The final section of the report consists of a summary of our recommendations.

In addition to this report, we have three other higher education budget briefs that analyze the Governor’s proposals for adult education, Hastings College of the Law, and the California Education Learning Lab.

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[PDF] The 2013-14 Budget: Transportation Proposals

February 21, 2013 - The Governor’s budget provides a total of $21.1 billion from various fund sources—the General Fund, special funds, bond funds, federal funds, and reimbursements for various transportation departments and programs under the new Transportation Agency in 2013-14. This is an increase of $558 million, or 2.7 percent, above estimated expenditures for the current year. In this report, we review the Governor’s 2013-14 budget proposals for various transportation departments and programs, including the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA), and the California Highway Patrol. We identify concerns with several of the proposals and make recommendations for legislative consideration. In some cases, we identify proposals that we think should be rejected or modified. We also identify issues that we think would benefit from additional legislative oversight. These include (1) the ability of Caltrans to manage its budget and workload for completing project initiation documents and (2) the HSRA's oversight of the design and construction of the state's high-speed rail project.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Office of Emergency Services

March 13, 2019 - In this report, we assess the Governor’s 2019‑20 budget proposals for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES).

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[PDF] The 2016-17 Budget: Transportation Proposals

February 23, 2016 - The Governor’s budget provides a total of $17 billion from various fund sources for all departments and programs under the California State Transportation Agency in 2016–17. This is an increase of $664 million, or 4 percent, over the estimated current–year expenditures. In this report, we assess the Governor’s budget proposals in the transportation area and summarize our major findings and recommendations.

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California's Transportation System

June 7, 2018 - The state’s transportation system helps to move people and goods around and through the state. The aim of this primer is to provide policymakers and the public with key information about this system. The primer begins with a chapter describing transportation governance. The subsequent five chapters consist of visual charts that provide information about the following:

  • Driving. Provides information on drivers, vehicles, state highways, and local streets and roads.
  • Mass Transportation. Describes modes of transportation that move large numbers of people at once, such as transit and commercial aviation.
  • Active Transportation. Provides information on bicycling and walking trips.
  • Freight Movement. Discusses the movement of goods through air travel, rail, seaports, and highways and roads.
  • Funding. Describes the revenue sources supporting California’s transportation programs and infrastructure.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Deferred Maintenance

February 8, 2019 - The Governor’s budget includes over $600 million from the General Fund and Proposition 68 for deferred maintenance projects at various state departments. We recommend that the Legislature require (1) departments receiving funding to report at budget hearings on the approach they will use to prioritize projects, as well as specific projects they plan to undertake; (2) the Department of Finance to report, no later than January 1, 2023, on which projects departments ultimately undertook with the funds provided; and (3) departments that continue to experience growth in deferred maintenance backlogs over the next few years to identify the reasons for the increases and the specific steps they plan to take to improve maintenance practices on an ongoing basis.