One of the things I do each year is read the California Transportation Commission Annual Report. I find it a useful snapshot of policy and operation issues for transportation in California. Intriguingly the 2011 Report’s introduction mentions a statewide transportation needs assessment the Commission released late last year. Over 10 years ago the Commission undertook a similar assessment in response to legislation (Senate Resolution 8 ). That document has withstood the test of time and years after it was issued I would see it still being cited in media coverage of transportation funding needs for California.
The rationale for the new assessment is laid out in the introduction:
The goal of this report is to detail what is needed for California’s transportation system and how we can pay for it. The report, therefore, allows transportation agencies and stakeholder groups to provide a consistent message to decision makers on these important subjects.
One of my first thoughts was this effort may have been what the Governor had in mind when he vetoed creation of the Blue Ribbon Committee last year.
Certainly the magnitude of the need and the challenges the state shortfall in transportation investment presents are daunting:
The total cost of all system preservation, system management, and system expansion projects during the ten-year study period is nearly $538.1 billion. Of this total, the cost of system preservation projects (both rehabilitation projects and maintenance costs) during the study period is $341.1 billion. It should be emphasized that the costs for system preservation contained in the report are based on the goal of meeting accepted standards that would bring transportation facilities into a “state of good repair” within the tenyear study period. These goals would lead to higher levels of investment in system preservation than are typically reflected in existing transportation plans and capital improvement programs.
The cost of system management projects and system expansion projects over the same period is estimated at $197 billion.
Quietly the Commission has been reaching out over the past few months to key stakeholders such as Mobility 21 and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). In January the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee held an informational hearing