Commission says California in a transportation funding crisis

| 1/21/2004

The California Transportation Commission warned the state’s General Assembly that funding for road work and other projects is at risk because of the way the state generates the revenue and because much of the money has been diverted to other purposes.

The warnings were contained in the commission’s annual report to the General Assembly. 

“California is in the unenviable situation of needing to rebuild its aging transportation systems and expand the capacity to handle the growth in population and freight movement within the state at a time when the funding to preserve, protect and expand the system is at an all time low point,” Kirk Lindsey, chairman of the commission, wrote in a letter accompanying the report.

The situation has become so bad that the commission, which normally allocates $2 billion to $3 billion each year for transportation projects, has allocated only $118 million so far this fiscal year while delaying $750 million worth of other projects. By the end of the fiscal year, the commission said, nearly $2 billion worth of transportation work will be on hold.

"The status quo is clearly not sustainable," David Brewer, deputy director of the commission, told The Sacramento Bee. "You can't go on like this."

The report said the state could use several methods to provide more reliable funding for transportation in the state. Those included:

  • New ways to gather tolls from highway users
  • An increase in the fuel tax
  • Indexing the fuel tax, which would allow it to rise with inflation.

The report also discussed delay problems in the state’s trucking industry, including delays at seaports caused by road congestion, wait and turnaround times at the ports, limited warehouse pickup and delivery times, restrictions on hours of operation, and lack of adequate truck parking.