Road projects now on hold as Calif. attempts to work down deficit

State expected to cancel sale of transportation bonds, affecting $2.1 billion in work

March 07, 2011

California’s Proposition 1B has become a victim of the state’s No. 1 priority—reducing a $26.6 billion deficit.

When passed by voters back in 2006, Proposition 1B promised to leverage $19.9 billion in bonds for needed road and bridge projects in the San Francisco Bay area. California is expected to cancel the sale of transportation bonds in an effort to work down the debt, which will delay $2.1 billion worth of work across the state, including $1 billion around the Bay. By law, all projects funded by the bonds must have money allocated by June 2012 and be under construction before 2013. Matt Rocco, spokesman for Caltrans, said the state has every intention to meet that deadline.

Some of the projects that are now in a holding pattern include:

• The widening of Highway 101 from Mountain View and the San Mateo County line;

• The addition of carpool lanes on I-880 between Milpitas and San Jose;

• The addition of carpool lanes on I-580 in the Livermore Valley;

• The widening of Highway 12 through Jameson Canyon in Napa; and

• The widening of Highway 4 from Somersville Road to Highway 160 in Contra Costa County.

“We’ve got these projects ready for construction, and now they sit while the state fiddles,” John Ristow, head of the Valley Transportation Authority’s highway program, told the Contra Costa Times.