Sacramento, Calif. — After nearly 10 years since it was passed by voters, over $15 billion from Proposition 1B has been put to work by Caltrans and its partners for more than 2,000 projects, bringing significant and critically needed investment to California’s transportation infrastructure, the agency said. Without this funding, numerous projects to California’s roads, bridges, transit and rail systems would not have been possible.
“In 2006, voters approved nearly $20 billion for transportation infrastructure and entrusted Caltrans and its partners to put that money to work, and we delivered,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “As this one-time program sunsets, Caltrans urges policymakers to come up with a long-term, stable source of transportation funding to ensure that these investments don’t go to waste because California is not providing enough funding to maintain this infrastructure.”
Proposition 1B represented the largest state expenditure on transportation infrastructure since the governorship of Edmund "Pat" Brown in the 1950s. Some of the major allocations included in Proposition 1B included:
- $4.5 billion for 90 corridor projects for efforts to reduce congestion on state highways and major access routes.
- $2.5 billion for 87 projects improving freight movement on state highways and rail system, and in ports.
- $3.6 billion to nearly 1,200 projects for public transit and rail systems improvements, including projects to upgrade transit service, modernize transit stations and help purchase cleaner-running buses.
- $1 billion for 23 projects making improvements to State Route 99, which traverses approximately 400 miles of the state’s central valley.
Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) also channeled approximately $2 billion worth of project savings to pay for more than 50 new or expanded projects. Caltrans, the CTC and their transportation partners statewide kept project costs down through competitive bidding, low administrative costs and stretching the savings as far as possible to give taxpayers the most value for their money. Additionally, over the course of Proposition 1B implementation, Caltrans was still able to fully deliver with its capital outlay support staffing declining to the lowest levels in 18 years.
The CTC recently issued a report on the benefits of Proposition 1B, which can be downloaded at www.catc.ca.gov/1baccount/Proposition_1B_Report_9-2-15.pdf.
“Caltrans and our partners made sure every dollar counts when it came to improving California’s transportation infrastructure,” continued Dougherty.
Some significant projects in this region that benefitted from Proposition 1B include:
The Willits Bypass Project is constructing about 6 miles of new highway to bypass the City of Willits to the east, relieving congestion along U. S. Highway 101 for interregional traffic. This $300 million project received $136 million towards construction costs from Proposition 1B. Bypassing the interregional traffic, especially truck traffic, will improve air quality at several local schools and help increase pedestrian safety. The mitigation for this project will also create and improve hundreds of acres of seasonal wetlands in the Little Lake Valley previously impacted by over a century of human activities. The project is anticipated to be completed fall of 2016.
According to projections made in May in the 2015 Ten-Year State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) Plan, Caltrans has a projected funding shortfall of nearly $60 billion over the next 10 years given available revenue.
The Ten-Year SHOPP outlines a strategy for improving roads, addressing major rehabilitation work on the state highway system and supporting Caltrans’ sustainability goal through projects that bring long-lasting and smart mobility improvements. The plan identifies approximately $8 billion annually needed to fund necessary improvements and preventative maintenance activities over the next ten years. However, in light of a shortfall of approximately $5.7 billion per year in funding, the plan warns that the state highway system will deteriorate and may need more expensive remedies in the future.
In light of this backlog, Caltrans has adopted a “fix-it-first” approach to its transportation infrastructure, prioritizing the preservation of California’s existing highway system. For every $1 spent on preventative maintenance, such as keeping a road in good condition, California can avoid spending $6 to $14 later to rebuild the same road. In the long run, California can save hundreds of millions of dollars in the upkeep of the new infrastructure investments made possible by Proposition 1B, if the maintenance funding required is made available.
Proposition 1B, approved by California voters in November 2006, authorized the issuance of $19.9 billion in general obligation bonds for specific transportation programs intended to relieve congestion, facilitate goods movement, improve air quality and enhance the safety of the state’s transportation system. To date, the state has allocated more than $18 billion in Proposition 1B funding for transportation purposes statewide.
A comprehensive list of all programs that received Proposition 1B funding can be found at www.bondaccountability.dot.ca.gov/bondacc.