“Roads in crisis”
Legislature must step up to fix our roads
January 27, 2016
Sacramento – The Fix Our Roads Coalition, including cities, counties, labor, business and transportation advocates, issued the following statement today after seeing the list of hundreds of transportation projects on the chopping block after the California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced last week it was cutting more than $750 million in funding over the next five years. The cuts were needed, the CTC said, because the largest source of ongoing transportation revenue, gas tax funding, has declined precipitously and the decline is expected to continue.
The list of projects was made public today in a letter to legislators: “The effect of this reduction on the state’s transportation system will be nothing short of catastrophic.”
“Our roads are in crisis, and now we are talking about shutting down needed road improvement projects because of inadequate funding from Sacramento. These are projects that are needed to protect driver safety, reduce congestion and increase mobility,” said Michael Quigley, executive director, California Alliance for Jobs. “This is not a hypothetical problem. These are real jobs that will be lost, real families that will be impacted, and real motorists who are paying the price because of the lack of adequate funding. The Legislature needs to act soon.”
Matt Cate, executive director, California State Association of Counties, said: “We need long-term, stable funding for transportation or our network of roads and bridges will continue to erode. There’s no other option. We have consistently promoted a transportation package that includes new revenues, but only if coupled with new accountability and new reform provisions. We urge the legislature and Governor Brown to act soon.”
“This $750 million in cuts only makes the transportation funding crisis worse,” said Chris McKenzie, executive director, League of California Cities. “Our cities and counties have also lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the past couple of years due to the decreasing revenue source. And California has a backlog of $78 billion just for local streets and roads. Establishing an ongoing funding source may be politically difficult, but failure to act is fiscally reckless.”
Last August the Fix Our Roads coalition laid out a set of policy principles we believe should guide the negotiations. First and foremost, we need a long term funding package to address the billions of dollars of backlogged transportation needs on both the state and local systems. Our policy principles also couple any new revenues with needed accountability provisions to ensure new transportation dollars go to transportation projects only.
The deferred maintenance on the state highway system is pegged at $59 billion. The funding shortfall to maintain the existing local streets and roads system is $78 billion. And California motorists are today spending an average of $762 annually just to fix repairs caused by poor road conditions.