The California Metropolitan Transportation Commission decided last month to trim the state’s transportation improvement plan by $754 million, in advance of the expectation that lower gas taxes and lower oil prices would have a severe effect on state tax-derived revenue. The loss was estimated to be $1.1 billion.
As a result, it is now clear that many high-profile projects are at risk of being severely delayed or cancelled outright. It is being characterized by state officials as potentially “catastrophic” to the state’s highway and bridge system.
About 225 shovel-ready transportation projects across the state are threatened this year alone, including the I-680/Hwy. 4 widening near Antioch, the Willow Road/Hwy. 101 upgrade in Menlo Park and the planned Hwy. 1 widening in Santa Cruz.
"We're taking another whacking," spokesman John Goodwin of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said regarding the curtailing of the state plan budget, which marks the largest scaling-back in nearly 20 years, with a further $328.3 million likely to be cut next year. "Big projects will be pushed back, but everybody is going to feel this, especially when the big potholes in front your house don't get filled."
This coming July, the California Transportation Commission will reduce the excise gas tax by 2.2 cents.