Members of an Assembly transportation committee learned that keeping people and goods moving in gridlocked Southern California will continue to be a challenge due to lack of funds to make infrastructure improvements.

Caltrans is falling $5.75 billion a year short in unfunded repairs to highways, freeways and bridges, state officials told members of the Select Committee on Regional Transportation and Interconnective Solutions led by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena.

In addition, the state has spent all the funding from 2006’s Proposition 1B, a $19.9-billion transportation bond measure, and at the federal level, the Federal Highway Trust Fund is nearly out of cash and will end on Oct. 29 unless Congress votes to extend it.

As a result, the state’s highway system is ranked 45th out of 50 in overall performance, said Susan Bransen, chief deputy director of the California Transportation Commission. Without additional funding, the state’s highway system will continue to deteriorate, she said.
“It paints a pretty grim picture,” said Carrie Bowen, director of Caltrans’ District 7, which includes Southern California.

The issue is gaining traction — Gov. Jerry Brown will hold a special session on transportation in the state Capitol to consider two funding bills.

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