SAN DIEGO - Citing the latest report on California's deteriorated freeway system, Republican Lt. Governor nominee Ron Nehring is calling for fundamental reform of how the state manages its roads.
"California spends more per mile on administrative costs than 46 other states. High overhead costs, state rules that needlessly drive up costs, and lack of competition have left Californians with poor quality highways despite paying the nation's second highest gas taxes," said Nehring. "Even worse, gas prices will shoot up by up to another 70 cents per gallon beginning January 1, with much of those funds being diverted to the high speed rail boondoggle instead of road improvements."
The Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report gives California poor marks for its state-controlled highways. Overall, the state ranked 45th in the nation in highway performance and cost-effectiveness. California ranks 49th in urban Interstate pavement condition, 46th in urban Interstate congestion, and 46th in rural Interstate pavement condition. Read the complete report
Last year the Bureau of State Audits released the findings of its four year investigation of CalTrans and found numerous serious problems at the agency, including that employees falsified test data. In one case, a CalTrans technician was fired after a news report detailed his transgressions, but his firing was later rescinded and the technician was allowed to retire with full benefits.
"The continued poor condition of California's freeways, combined with the episodes documented by the Bureau of State Audits, make clear we need root-and-branch reform of how taxpayer dollars are used to build and maintain roads," said Nehring. "Claims that the state is on a comeback while its citizens continue navigating some of the nation's worst roads just aren't credible."
Among the reforms Nehring supports:
- An increase in the role of the private sector to use competition to drive down costs for design, engineering, maintenance, and standards following the "managed competition" model adopted by the City of San Diego.
- A shift in traffic enforcement to focus on safety instead of revenue generation for government.
- A review of the education and training required prior to the issuance of a California's Driver's License.
- The repeal of rules applying AB 32 ("cap and trade") regulations to transportation fuels to avoid the expected spike in fuel prices coming January 1.
- Reform of work and contracting rules to allow projects to be completed more quickly and at lower costs.