State funding for California’s transportation system is expected to decline by $754 million over the next five years, according to a plan the California Transportation Commission approved yesterday (Jan. 21). The drop means that “almost every county in California that relies on this source of funding for projects that improve traffic and air quality will have to cut or delay projects indefinitely,” said CTC Chair Lucy Dunn in a statement. It wasn’t immediately clear what projects would be impacted in the Bay Area and by how much. The CTC said it marks the largest scaling back of the state’s transportation program since the creation of the current funding structure nearly 20 years ago.

The reduction is due in large part to declining revenue from the state’s excise tax on gas. The Bay Area Council has advocated for identifying other revenue sources and making cost-saving reforms in how transportation projects are delivered. A special session of the Legislature convened last summer to come up with new funding has not produced any results. Gov. Brown in his state of the state this week called for new taxes and fees to support transportation projects, but it’s questionable there is sufficient support in the Legislature for such measures. To engage in our transportation policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

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