CALTRANS PROGRAM REVEALS SERIOUS FUNDING GAPS FOR HIGHWAYS

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By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2015 (San Diego)—California highways have $57 billion in deferred maintenance and our state now ranks 45th out of 50 states in overall highway performance.  Over half of our state’s highways need rehabilitation and 28%of bridges need repairs or replacement. But there is not enough money available to solve these problems, which are getting worse as time goes by. Those are among the dismal facts presented at a Cal Trans forum on transportation issues presented in San Diego this week.

Potential solutions include charging drivers a per-mile charge, with those who drive more paying the lion’s share.  Raising the gas tax is another option, though that has been tried previously and failed.

Nadin Abbott at Reporting San Diego covered the forum in a two-part series:

http://reportingsandiego.com/2015/08/26/the-transportation-crisis-in-california-is-here/

http://reportingsandiego.com/2015/08/26/local-transportation-issues-part-two/

Local transportation issues were also discussed, including the new Otay Mesa East border crossing, a toll crossing set to open in 2018 and connect up to State Route 11 and from there, 125. A conspicous absence was any discussion of highway delays or potential improvements along State Routes 94 and 67, despite many accidents and closures that have prompted complaints from residents.

Transit enhancements are expected to occur in El Cajon and Santee, but not points further east due to lack of demand, according to Reporting San Diego.

 

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Comments

The Cal Trans Money Hole

The last time the State of Calif passed a bill for billions of dollars to go toward road and infrastructure repairs that money was hi-jacked and used to fund support projects for illegals. Cal Trans is one of the biggest, bloated, administrative stuffed agencies in the country. Cal Trans spends over $ 720,000 PER MILE to maintain roads in California. Second highest in the country. Yet our roads are rated near the bottom compared to the other states. They continuously go over budget on all their projects yet now they want to punish the drivers of Calif .whom already pay the second highest gasoline taxes in the country. They should not get another dime of taxpayer money until they clean up their own house.

Some truth there but also

When there has been a refusal in the legislature particularly one party and resistance among taxpayers to spending money on these things, even if that means a small raise in a fee or tax somewhere (such as a wellhead tax on oil) , then the blame for the sorry state of our roads and bridges lies partly with politicians and taxpayers. 

I would be interested to see the breakdown on why Caltrans spends more per mile than most other states; not sure if that's due to paying higher wages/union workers/living wage, bloated budgets at the top, high insurance costs or some other factors.  Cleaning up after earthquakes or fire damage for instance might put that per-mile factor into the stratosphere.  I recall driving a highway right after a fire, behind fire lines as press, and seeing that guardrails and parts of highway 94 had melted away.  LA freeways were a mess for years after the Northridge quake.