Dan Walters

Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
June 18, 2015

  • Gov. Jerry Brown calls for new roadway financing
  • Californians already pay very high gas taxes
  • Would be it more gas tax or another levy?

There was a time when California was teaching the world how to build first-class highway systems.

Our highway engineers were loaned to other nations eager to emulate California’s network of highways and freeways.

Today, California’s state highways and local streets and roads are – or should be – a civic embarrassment, ranking at or near the bottom in state-to-state quality comparisons.

Although California motorists pay the second highest fuel taxes in the nation, we sit near the bottom in maintenance spending per mile of roadway and, therefore, at or near the bottom in congestion and pavement conditions.

As anyone who drives on California’s streets, roads and highways could attest, they are in lousy condition – in some cases literally disintegrating under the pounding of 330 billion vehicle-miles of travel each year.

The California Transportation Commission, in its most recent “statewide transportation system needs assessment,” says California should spend $538.1 billion on state and local transportation improvements and maintenance in the ensuing decade, but can count on having less than half that amount.

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