Report: California bond spreads road money thin

| 9/15/2006

A review of the nearly $20 billion transportation bond California voters will consider on Election Day shows that nearly half of the funds won’t go directly to relieve traffic congestion throughout the state.

The Associated Press review shows that nearly 40 percent of the money would not go for the much-ballyhooed road and transit projects to ease congestion. Instead, billions would be earmarked for projects that include new fencing around ports, school buses for Los Angeles, and security cameras and disaster-plan studies for San Francisco’s subway and ferry terminals.

Billions also would be spent on acquiring land for rail crossings and emissions reduction.

The AP’s examination found that money would be spread across so many potential projects that some experts have cast doubt whether there will be enough funds for any region to make a noticeable improvement in highway traffic.

Proposition 1B is part of the largest single bond ever placed before California voters. In addition to the $19.9 billion sought for transportation, voters will be asked to consider $10.4 billion for education; $4.1 billion for flood control; and $2.85 billion for housing, The AP reported.