California’s transportation infrastructure is no longer considered “high-risk,” 16 years after it was added to an inauspicious list by the California State Auditor.
California’s transportation infrastructure was considered “deteriorating” when it was added to the Auditor’s list in May 2007.
Among the issues plaguing the state was a lack of stable, long-term funding and desperately needed upgrades to aging roads, bridges, and much-needed traffic-reducing measures. Intercity rail and “active transportation” infrastructure for walking and biking were also considered to be subpar.
Following its inclusion on the list, Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission went to work with a major boon coming from the passage of Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
The landmark legislation “ushered in a new era of infrastructure investment to rebuilding California,” said California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin.
SB 1 provides more than $5 billion in transportation funding annually, which is shared about equally between state and local agencies. Officials say it’s the first “significant, stable and ongoing increase in state transportation funding in more than two decades.”
Since its passage, California has invested more than $18 billion in SB 1 funding into more than 10,000 projects across the state and, in the process, created more than 237,000 jobs.
So far, California has completed the following upgrades thanks to SB 1.
- Enhanced pavement on nearly 15,000 lane miles on the state highway system so 99% of pavement is in good or fair condition – above the SB 1 goal of 98% by 2027.
- Fixed 1,512 bridges – more than doubling the number of structures repaired annually and already surpassing the SB 1 goal of 500 additional bridges restored by 2027.
- Repaired 578,285 linear feet of culverts – a more than three-fold increase from pre-SB 1 levels – and cleaned more than 1.6 million linear feet of culverts so 90% of drainage systems on the state highway network are now in good or fair condition, in line with SB 1’s 10-year goal.
- Added or repaired nearly 6,200 traffic management system elements, with 77% currently in good or fair condition and on track to reach the SB 1 target of 90% in good condition by 2027.
Caltrans says it has already achieved the 10-year targets in three of the four primary infrastructure categories “substantial progress” is being made in the fourth.
The state’s transportation infrastructure assets include more than 50,000 lane miles of pavement, 13,200 bridges, 213,000 culverts and drainage facilities, and nearly 21,000 transportation management system elements, which includes message signs, meters and other traffic control devices.
“The people of California entrusted us with their hard-earned tax dollars to upgrade the state’s aging infrastructure, and we have delivered and will continue to make good on that trust,” Omishakin said. He added that the state is in a unique position to continue making progress with infrastructure improvements thanks to additional funding provided by the federal government’s infrastructure package and more state-provided cash coming from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget.
Omishakin said the support of the state and federal government will allow Caltrans to quickly meet its goals of transforming the state’s transportation infrastructure into something cleaner, safer, more equitable and more connected, which he says will benefit all Californians.
To learn more about state and federal infrastructure investments, visit RebuildingCA.ca.gov.