The Bay Area Council is closely watching a special Legislative session that Gov. Jerry Brown has called to identify up to $6 billion in annual funding ($59 billion over 10 years) to pay for overdue and badly needed transportation infrastructure work statewide. Reliable estimates put the cost of California’s backlog of road and freeway maintenance work at $59 billion with an ongoing annual shortfall of $5.7 billion. That doesn’t include an estimated $78 billion backlog in local road repair work.

The Council’s Executive Committee last week discussed various mechanisms being considered for achieving the Governor’s funding goal, including raising the gas tax and other vehicle-related fees, and will be communicating its position to the Legislature when it returns from a month-long summer recess in August.

A report released yesterday (July 23) by TRIP, a national transportation research group, highlighted the immense economic and individual cost of California’s failure to maintain its roads and highways. The report estimates that poor roads cost the average California motorist $762 a year in repair bills and related vehicle maintenance expenses. The figure is even higher for Bay Area motorists, where the annual cost is $1,000 for each driver. It’s not an exact apples to apples comparison, but when you consider that California’s 24 million licensed drivers are paying $18 billion annually in unnecessary repair costs, the $6 billion the Governor wants to raise annually to fix the roads doesn’t look so bad. To engage in our transportation policy work, contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

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