The fiscal outlook for California’s roads remains treacherous, says the League of California Cities, noting that “street and road conditions throughout California continue losing ground without a significant investment from the state.”
The League, California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the state’s regional planning agencies have now conducted six biennial assessments of the local road system, documenting its current status and the dollars needed to bring streets and roads into good condition. Released in late 2016, the California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment survey once again confirmed the continual decline of the system and underscored a severe funding shortfall. The engineers conducting the analysis project that by 2026, 22 percent of all local streets and roads will be in failed condition if funding does not substantially increase for this infrastructure.
The 2016 report found that over the next decade, without a significant new public investment, the local system faces a $73 billion funding shortfall to bring pavements into good condition, address deficient bridges and fix essential components such as storm drains, sidewalks and signage. The report forecasts that without any legislative action to increase transportation funding, the unmet funding need will grow by $20 billion in the next two decades.
“The shortfall remains staggering,” notes Eva Spiegel, the League’s communications director, adding that, “the findings highlight the critical need in California to develop a transportation funding solution that will keep residents and the economy moving forward.”
Gov. Jerry Brown’s Special Session on Transportation ended on Nov. 30, 2016, without action; however, lawmakers vowed to work on a transportation funding proposal in early 2017. This work began on Dec. 5, 2016, when the new Legislature convened in Sacramento. The 113 bills introduced that day included two addressing transportation funding; Senate Transportation Committee Chair Jim Beall (D-San Jose) introduced SB 1 and Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) introduced AB 1.
The funding proposals include many of the core principles that the League of California Cities adopted with its partners in the Fix Our Roads Coalition. Each proposal would generate approximately $6 billion annually for transportation, with $2.14 billion dedicated to local streets and roads. The proposals would also provide funding for the state highway system, self-help counties, active transportation programs, goods movement, loan repayment, transit and intercity rail. The League’s analysis of SB 1 and AB 1, including the breakdown of funding, can be found at www.cacities.org/AB1SB1Analysis.
Source: Western City