California may be a world-wide leader in technology, agricultural production and tourism, but the Report Card for California’s Surface Transportation Infrastructure leaves much to be desired. On Wednesday, the American Society of Civil Engineers California’s Region 9 members released the grades for the state’s surface transportation network. Roads earned a “D,” bridges a “C-,” and transit a “C-.” The grades were released at simultaneous events in Los Angeles and the Bay Area; the second and third most congested urban areas in the nation, respectively.
The surface transportation subset of the 2019 Report Card for California’s Infrastructure was released today, just over a month before Election Day, to make sure voters have access to ASCE’s nonpartisan, fact-based assessment of infrastructure when they go to the polls in November to vote on Proposition 6.
Proposition 6 would repeal a bill passed by the California legislature in 2017 that increased available funding for the transportation network. Senate Bill 1, also known as the Road and Repair Accountability Act, reversed decades of underinvestment in California’s infrastructure by providing $5.4 billion in funding for roads, bridges, and transit. SB 1 is paid for by increasing vehicle registration fees, as well as gas and diesel taxes. A “No” vote will ensure that the new funding, which is already being spent on projects in every community in California, stays intact.
The 2018 Report Card for California’s Surface Transportation Infrastructure finds that 44% of California’s major roads in the state are in poor condition, while 37% are in mediocre or fair condition. In addition, California bridges account for 13 of the top 25 most traveled structurally deficient bridges in the United States. Notably, congestion in California costs drivers up to $1,774 each year in lost time and wasted fuel.
In addition to urging a “No” vote on Proposition 6, ASCE civil engineers made several other recommendations on how to raise the grades. California should continue to invest in the research and development of new technologies, improve the adaptability and resilience of the transportation network against manmade and natural disasters, and prioritize the freight network to get goods to markets in and beyond California.
The Report Card is released as a public service to citizens and policymakers to inform them of the infrastructure needs in their community. The 2019 Report Card for California’s Infrastructure, grading 14 additional categories of infrastructure (17 overall), will be released in February.
ASCE State and Regional Infrastructure Report Cards are modeled after the national Infrastructure Report Card, which gave America’s infrastructure a grade of “D+” in 2017.
A full copy of California’s Surface Transportation Report Card is available at InfrastructureReportCard.org/California.