California transportation department sees $5.7 bln yearly funding gap

Mon May 11, 2015 2:39pm EDT
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By Robin Respaut

May 11 (Reuters) - California needs an additional $5.7 billion per year to maintain its roads, according to a 10-year planning report by the state's Department of Transportation.

Caltrans said in the report, released last week, that it would need about $8 billion annually for the next 10 years to reach management and improvement goals for its highway system, but only $2.3 billion annually has been budgeted.

The report's release came as lawmakers and Democratic Governor Jerry Brown are jockeying over funding issues in the state budget. The governor's May revision of the budget is expected later this week.

Caltrans said it needed the funding for critical infrastructure projects to roadways and bridges planned over the next decade. There are more than 50,000 state highway lane miles and more than 13,000 bridges across the state.

"Many of the highways and bridges that were built in the mid-20th century are in need of substantial renovation and sometimes even replacement," Caltrans noted in its report [link:]. "Our remarkable economy and more than 38 million residents are dependent on continued availability of safe, reliable, well-maintained highways."

In January, Brown said the state needed $59 billion in maintenance for its aging roads and bridges.

Caltrans estimated that only 59 percent of all state highway lane miles were in good condition. A quarter of lane miles needed preventative maintenance treatment, and roughly 16 percent were distressed and needed major rehabilitation. (Reporting by Robin Respaut; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)