Thursday, May 19, 2016

AASHTO Journal: TRIP Report on Calif. Infrastructure Gives ‘Green Light’ to Fraction of Project Needs

The TRIP transportation research group said only 14 of 125 most-needed transportation projects in California have a "green light" in that fully identified funding will be available by 2020.
TRIP warned that 42 of the projects across varied transportation modes drew a "red light" label because they will have little or no available funds based on the state's current funding expectations. It gave a "yellow light" to the remaining 69 projects "because a portion of needed funding is anticipated to be available" by the end of this decade.
dollarpump.jpgTRIP said it built the report using information from the California Department of Transportation and regional agencies.
The report comes as various states are saying that even with a new federal surface transportation funding bill they do not have enough dedicated funds to cover their project needs. California lawmakers, at the urging of Gov. Jerry Brown, have considered possible ways to boost Caltrans' revenue but have not yet settled on a plan.
Meanwhile, TRIP also said the condition of the state's road system is suffering. "California's roads, highways and bridges have some deficiencies and are becoming increasingly congested," the group said. "More than a half of the state's major urban roads are deficient, with 51 percent rated in poor condition in 2013 and another 39 percent rated in mediocre or fair condition."
Its list of 125 most-needed projects, TRIP said, includes work to build, expand and operate "roads, highways, bridges, mass transit systems, rail, maritime, pedestrian and bicycle facilities."
Those efforts, it said, "would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and enhancing California's desirability as a place to live, visit and do business."
But the report's main point is that without "a significant boost in local, state and federal funding," a lot of those mobility improvements will be left hanging.
In the Los Angeles area, for instance, TRIP said that "none of the region's 20 most critically needed transportation projects has a green light to signify that full funding is available" or will be by 2020.
Those include maintenance and upgrades to high-traffic roads, building high-occupancy and toll lanes to boost capacity and manage volume, extending rail transit to the international airport, expanding bus service and many more.
TRIP said San Diego fared better, with funding identified for five of its 15 critical projects. But of course that leaves two-thirds short of funds.
In San Francisco, TRIP found just three of 20 projects will have enough money while six fall into its red zone of not projected to have funding through 2020.
The capital area of Sacramento did not rank well in project funding either. "None of the region's 15 most critically needed transportation projects has a green light," said TRIP, while "10 projects are rated a red light" for lack of available funds.


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