As part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Strategic Growth Plan, the California Legislature last week passed a $36 billion bond package for building roads, schools and flood-control projects that will appear on the November 2006 election ballot, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced.
The transportation portion of the bond package includes $19.9 billion for safety improvements and repairs to state highways, upgrades to freeways to reduce congestion, repairs to local streets and roads, improvements to the seismic safety of local bridges, expansion of public transit, reduction of air pollution and improvements to anti-terrorism security at ports.
In addition, the package authorizes 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, Caltrans announced.
The package also includes protection of any future Proposition 42 transfers. It would allow the state to borrow the money, but pay it back within three years. It also would restrict the state to only two such transactions every 10 years.
Finally, the package includes legislation to streamline the environmental process while safeguarding environmental protections.
Specifically, the bond includes:
$4.5 billion to relieve congestion by expanding capacity, enhancing operations and improving travel times in high-congestion travel corridors;
$1 billion for improvements to 400 miles of state Route 99 through California's Central Valley;
$3.1 billion for infrastructure improvements to seaports, land ports of entry and airports, to relieve traffic congestion along major trade corridors and to improve freight rail facilities to enhance the movement of goods from port to marketplace. Included in this amount is $1 billion for air-quality improvements that will achieve emission reductions from activities related to port operations and freight movement. $100 million of the total will also be available for port, harbor and ferry terminal security improvements;
$200 million for school bus retrofit and replacement to reduce air pollution and to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust;
$2 billion to augment funds for the State Transportation Improvement Program, a five-year program of capital improvements for state and regional transportation projects;
$4.0 billion for capital improvements and fleet expansion to enhance public transit, intercity and commuter rail and waterborne transit. Projects include new capital projects, safety and modernization improvements, capital service enhancements, rehabilitation and bus rapid transit improvements;
$1 billion for transit safety, security and disaster response for projects that provide increased protection against a security and safety threat and increase the capacity of transit operations to move people, goods and emergency personnel and equipment in the preparation for and the aftermath of a disaster;
$1.0 billion in matching funds for counties that have raised local money for transportation projects;
$125 million to provide matching funds to complete the seismic safety work needed on local bridges, ramps and overpasses;
$250 million for railroad crossings and the construction of bridges over rail lines;
$750 million for highway safety, rehabilitation and pavement-preservation projects, including $250 million for traffic-light synchronization projects or other technology-based improvements to improve safety operations and the capacity of local streets and roads; and
$2 billion for improvements to local transportation facilities that will repair and rehabilitate local streets and roads, reduce local traffic congestion, improve traffic flow or increase traffic safety.