The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) brought nearly $2.6 billion of federal funds to California for highways, local streets and roads, and $1.07 billion for transit projects. Under the Recovery Act, California had 120 days to obligate, or commit, half of these federal funds, and California obligated this funding in less than 60 days — two months ahead of the federal deadline. Caltrans was the first state transportation department in the country to surpass the $1.8 billion obligation mark. These funds are providing a much-needed jump start to California’s economy, while creating an investment in transportation infrastructure that will leave a legacy for generations to come.
Since March 2009, Caltrans has leveraged the more than $2 billion in Recovery Act funding with other sources of state and local transportation funding for nearly 1,000 transportation projects — putting a total of $3.8 billion into California’s economy. Nearly $600 million of this funding, as of the fiscal year end, has already been paid to transportation contractors — ranking California second nationally in Recovery Act funds paid.
To date, California leads the nation with nearly $2.6 billion in Recovery Act funding obligated to 991 highway, job training and local street transportation projects statewide.
The Strategic Growth Plan’s (SGP) goal is to reduce the level of traffic congestion, so that in 10 years there will be less congestion than there is today. The SGP is based on the premise that investments in mobility throughout the system will yield significant improvements in congestion relief. To accomplish the objective, an estimated $107 billion investment in the transportation infrastructure will be necessary. It is anticipated that the $19.9 billion transportation bond (Proposition 1B) funds will leverage private sector, federal and local resources to multiply the total funds dedicated to improving and building our transportation infrastructure.
The Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 1B) has paved the way for transportation projects like the $325 million Lincoln Bypass in Placer County, and the $79 million Interstate 210/215 connector ramps in Southern California.
So far, Proposition 1B has helped pay for the completion of 119 projects, get 228 projects into construction and move 717 projects in environmental or design phases. The bond program has also helped pay for the completed seismic retrofit of 36 bridges, rehabilitation of 10 miles of roads, and the construction of 10 miles of new lanes — many of which include high- occupancy vehicle or carpool lanes in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Solano and Sonoma counties. The bond program has also helped pay for the widening of four highway ramps, construction of 11 transit facilities, purchase of 487 new transit vehicles, installation of more than 300 new traffic detection systems and an improved system operation — saving more than 1,300 hours of daily travel time so the public can spend more time doing the things they enjoy and less time on the road.
Proposition 1B provided $1 billion for corridor enhancements on State Route 99. Worthy of notice is the $70 million Atwater Freeway Project, which was completed nine months ahead of schedule and brings SR 99 one step closer to being a full freeway. The project received nearly $50 million from Proposition 1B, and upgraded nearly three miles of the highway in Merced County from a four-lane expressway to a six-lane freeway. Nearly 40,000 vehicles a day use the highway section.
Caltrans and the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency produced GoCalifornia, which became the transportation component of the Governor’s Strategic Growth Plan (SGP). The plan developed system-wide transportation performance standards adopted by the California Transportation Commission. In addition, the SGP calls for state and regional agencies to engage in public private partnerships to attract billions of dollars in private investment for the development of transportation infrastructure in the state.
In January 2007, Caltrans, in collaboration with the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency, completed the Goods Movement Action Plan (GMAP). The department spent two years coordinating feedback sessions and workshops with numerous local, regional and state agencies, the private sector and community-based organizations to develop the plan. The GMAP and the Emissions Reduction Plan are statewide action plans for goods movement capacity expansion, goods movement-related public health and environmental and community impact mitigation, and goods movement-related security and public safety enhancements. The California Transportation Commission used the plan in the development of the priority project list for the $3 billion Trade Corridor Improvement Funds (TCIF) Proposition 1B program.
During fiscal year 2009-10, construction began on four goods movement projects supported by $156 million in TCIF funding. In fiscal year 2010-11, 25 goods movement projects (valued at $3 billion) with nearly $800 million in TCIF funding are expected to begin construction.