California faces roads funding shortfall; federal infrastructure support is needed

California’s transportation revenues have been hurt by a reduction in traffic volume during the pandemic. The resulting impact on the state’s road repair program is now being felt as the state faces a projected $6.1 billion annual shortfall four years after adopting Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), a fuel tax increase and transportation plan dedicated to improving roads, bridges and transit, according to Rebuild SoCal Partnership (RSCP) newsletter.

The shortfall figure was included in a draft report, “The State Highway System Management Plan,” prepared for the California Transportation Commission.

SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, aimed to invest $54 billion over 10 years to fix California’s roads, freeways and bridges and make improvements to transit and safety. But the pandemic has taken its toll — in January 2021 for instance, vehicle miles traveled on California roads were down 15.2% from a year earlier.

Given the projected shortfall, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration could be looking for help from the White House, where President Joe Biden is pushing for a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

Biden’s plan includes $115 billion nationally for highway and bridge repair.


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