Infrastructure in California

2018 Report Card for California’s Surface Transportation Infrastructure

In November, California voters will have the choice to preserve a critical revenue stream needed to improve the state’s aging and over-burdened infrastructure. The state is known for its iconic bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge, and roadways like the Pacific Coast Highway. Our ports are a gateway for the country, carrying freight from the west coast to the rest of America. But California is also known for crippling traffic congestion on its highways, like the U.S. Route 101 and Interstate 405, and potholes on neighborhood streets have become as common to see as blue skies and palm trees.

In 2017, Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), also known as The Road and Repair Accountability Act, sought to reverse this trajectory of underinvestment in our transportation infrastructure by generating an additional $5.4 billion a year, when fully implemented, dedicated solely to transportation funding. As this funding went into effect, projects that improve safety, repair bridges, relieve congestion, and increase transit offerings started moving and are already improving the safety and reliability of our infrastructure. To continue making progress, we must preserve this critical revenue stream by voting “No” on Proposition 6 in November 2018.

Click here to read the Report Card for California’s Surface Transportation Infrastructure Executive Summary.

California Infrastructure Grades


Progress has been made over the past decade to increase the percentage of California bridges in good condition and to reduce the number that are classified as structurally deficient. However, much more remains to be done, especially as it relates to seismic retrofitting to improve the safety of bridges in the event of an earthquake. Approximately 50% of bridges in the state have exceeded their design life and the backlog of recommended maintenance, repair and replacement work continues to grow. California is home to the second largest percentage of “functionally obsolete” bridges, or bridges with outdated designs that frequently contribute to congestion chokepoints. 6.2% of California’s bridges are structurally deficient (SD) and California has the largest percentage of bridges in “Poor” condition in the nation by bridge deck area. In other words, some of our largest bridges, along corridors such as I-5 in San Diego, Highway 101 in Los Angeles, and I-80 in Sacramento need major repair and rehabilitation. Repairs on nearly 4,400 bridges have been identified that with costs estimated at $12.2 billion.


California needs robust, flexible and reliable transit systems to reduce peak congestion on our highways, provide options for citizens who do not drive, and improve air quality. Public transit in California provides nearly 1.5 billion trips annually on 139 transit systems throughout the state. The California Transportation Commission estimated in 2011 the state needed approximately $174 billion for expansion and state of good repair transit projects over the next 10 years, but at the time only 45% funding of funding had been identified, leaving a shortfall of $96 billion. Fortunately, recent legislative initiatives and ballot measures are attempting to close the funding gap, including an additional $750 million annually for transit agencies across the state provided through The Road and Repair Accountability Act (SB 1). Adequate resources must be provided to our transit systems or we risk retreat on sustainability gains as well as the current state of good repair.


Driving on deficient roads costs Californians $61 billion annually due to congestion-related delays, traffic collisions and increased vehicle operating costs caused by poor road conditions. The condition of California roads is among the worst in the nation, ranking 49th according to the latest US News & World Report Ranking. Meanwhile, Southern California and the Bay Area are the second and third most congested urban areas in the nation, respectively. Repair and improvement to these roads is vital to California’s economic health and public safety. The Road and Repair Accountability Act (SB 1) passed in April 2017, provides $52 billion in additional funds for local and state roads over the next ten years. However, a total of more than $130 billion over that same time is needed to bring the system back to a state of good repair. A good transportation system enables efficient movement of goods and people and is critical to California’s economic well-being.

Each category was evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation

Key Facts about California's Infrastructure


190 public-use airports


1,603 (6.24%) of the 25,657 bridges are structurally deficient


805 high hazard dams

Dams with EAPS

73% of the state regulated dams have an Emergency Action Plan

Drinking Water

$51 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years

Hazardous Waste

98 sites on the National Priorities List

Inland Waterways

290 miles of inland waterways, ranking it 26th


9,560 miles of levees


230.2 million short tons of cargo in 2012, ranking it 3rd nationally

Public Parks

$4.85 billion of unmet needs for its parks system


4,828 miles of freight railroads across the state, ranking 5th nationally

Road Costs

$862 per motorist per year in costs from driving on roads in need of repair


176,214 miles of Public Roads, with 44% in poor condition


$3.2 billion gap in estimated school capital expenditures


1,324,436,440 annual unlinked passenger trips via transit systems including bus, transit, and commuter trains


$26.2 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years

Key Solutions

Our nation’s infrastructure problems are solvable if we have leadership and commit to making good ideas a reality. Raising the grades on our infrastructure will require that we seek and adopt a wide range of solutions.

We can no longer afford to defer investment in our nation’s critical infrastructure systems.

Leadership & Planning

Smart investment will only be possible with leadership, planning, and a clear vision for our nation’s infrastructure.

Preparing for the Future

We have to utilize new approaches, materials, and technologies to ensure our infrastructure is more resilient.

Latest News

Vote for Infrastructure on November 6th!

Infrastructure investment is a popular topic this election season, making its way onto the ballot in several states around the country including California, Connecticut, and...

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Download the Full 2017 Infrastructure Report Card
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