California Can’t Wait Any Longer to Fix Roads, Bridges

Today the Sacramento Bee published an op-ed by California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. Choice excerpts are below, please click here to read the whole article over at the Bee.

Nothing worth doing is easy.

Were it politically easy to invest sufficiently in transportation infrastructure, Congress would have already enacted a multi-year funding plan to make the Highway Trust Fund solvent, and to repair the nation’s crumbling streets, highways, transit systems and bridges.

Instead, Congress has passed numerous continuing resolutions to maintain the status quo. Meanwhile, California’s gas tax has not increased since the passage of Proposition 111 in 1990 – 25 years ago. This inaction has left our transportation system in a state of disrepair. Without stable, user-based funding dedicated to transportation, the backlog of needed repairs to highways, bridges and other vital transportation assets grows ever greater.

With $8 billion in annual highway repair needs and current gas tax revenue of $2.3 billion, the state has a shortfall of $5.7 billion annually. Some 564 bridges are in distressed condition and many others do not meet modern standards for weight, clearance or seismic safety; nearly 40 percent of culverts must be repaired or replaced. In addition, 41 percent of California’s pavement is distressed or needs serious maintenance, ranking among the worst in the nation. Pothole repair, tree trimming, and litter and graffiti removal all get failing grades. None of this is acceptable…

New, dedicated investment can restore our roadway pavement, fill thousands of potholes, upgrade hundreds of bridges and avoid spending far greater sums on bigger problems in the future…

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has called a special session of the Legislature, Democrats and Republicans have an opportunity to join together and invest in California’s transportation infrastructure – something all sides agree is necessary. This won’t be easy, but it is well worth doing.

# # #