SLO County loses $45.1M in State Transportation Funds

CoastStarlight

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) last week took final action to cut $45.1 million in transportation funding for Southern California’s San Luis Obispo County — representing the largest transportation funding reduction at the state level in over 20 years.

The cuts and delays are reflected in the 2016 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) adopted biannually by the transportation commission. Multiple projects will be affected due in large part to the steady loss of gas tax revenue over the past two years.

“This cut of $45.1 million in funding to our region is on top of the $15 million in cuts and delays from prior STIP reductions late last year,” said San Luis Obispo Council of Governments Executive Director Ron De Carli. “This is further proof that state transportation funding cannot be relied on to solve our local transportation needs.”

Immediate cuts to previously programmed projects in the region include:

  • $25M for the Coast Daylight Track and Signal Project. This project was to extend the SLO train service up to the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • $19M for right-of-way and design work for the Highway 41 and Highway 46 interchange in eastern SLO County.
  • $1.1M for engineering and design work for future improvements at the Highway 46 West and U.S. 101 interchange.

The STIP is a key planning document for funding future state highway, intercity rail, transit and pedestrian improvements throughout California. The CTC is required by law to estimate the amount of funds projected to be available over the five-year STIP period. The gas excise tax in 2010 was set at 17.3 cents per gallon and is adjusted annually by the State Board of Equalization based on fuel prices. On July 1, 2016, the tax will be reduced to 9.8 cents from the current 12 cents. Based on that reduction, the CTC anticipates a $1.5 billion funding shortfall for project commitments previously made for fiscal years 2016-17 through 2018-19, leading to the funding cuts and delays included in the 2016 STIP.

It is estimated that every $1 billion in highway and transit investment supports 13,000 jobs. Each penny reduction in the gas tax decreases revenue to fund state and local roads by about $140 million per year.

Source: Paso Robles Daily News

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