California Budget Supports Bullet Train, Would Create New Transportation Agency

Friday, January 06, 2012 - 09:28 AM

Badwater Road 178 in Death Valley National Park, CA (photo by Vlasta Juricek via Flickr)

California Governor Jerry Brown released his 2012-2013 budget yesterday -- six days earlier than planned -- after the document was accidentally posted on the state’s Department of Finance website. And yes: it still funds high-speed rail.

The proposal calls for $15.9 million in administrative support for the High-Speed Rail Authority, regardless of what happens with the current funding. The high-speed rail project is still in a review period.

This first draft of the budget estimates California’s deficit at $9.2 billion for the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1. Although that number is much lower than the $26 billion projected last year, it still means deep cuts for welfare and medical programs, the elimination of 3,000 state jobs, and the closing, consolidation and reorganization of more than 50 state agencies.

Under the new plan, transportation departments, which are currently part of the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, would get their own agency. The new Transportation Agency would include the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Department of Motor Vehicles, the High‑Speed Rail Authority, the Highway Patrol, the California Transportation Commission, and the Board of Pilot Commissioners.

In terms of transportation funding, the new plan proposes transferring close to $350 million in weight fee revenues collected from commercial trucks to the General Fund to offset transportation bond debt. It also cuts $3.7 million and 41 jobs from the Division of Mass Transportation. And the plan calls for a $13.9 million increase in payments to Amtrak for current intercity rail services in Southern California, which would reduce funding available for other projects.

You can read the budget proposal here.


Comments [3]

Dave Imrett

Ulysses seems not to understand the difference between maintaing and existing system (roads) that we are critically dependant on and creating a new, dramatically expensive system that will only serve a very small percentage of the population. One (roads) is a need. The other (high speed rail) is want. When times are tough and you are having trouble paying for needs, you don't go out and debt finance expensive new wants. Hence my family budget parallel. And yes Ulysses, even if you don't feel that they are, roads are a need. The goods and services that your life literally depends on are largely delivered over the roads.

Jan. 12 2012 08:33 PM

Well, we spend billions on our roads-- I think that it's a good investment for the future that nobody really plans for.

Jan. 10 2012 11:50 AM
Dave Imrett

California is planning to spend billions on high speed rail when they don't have enough money to maintain their roads and bridges.
Isn't that like a family who has cancelled the cell phone and the cable so that they can just barely make minimum payments on all their credit cards taking their tax refund out to put a down payment on Ferrari?
"Sure we can make the payments, Honey! I'll just have to mug the neighbors more often and stick up more liquor stores. After all there's lots of money out there. All I have to do is take our 'fair share' and we won't have any problems making payments on the Ferrari" It's funny so long as you aren't one of the neighbors (ie. Ca. taxpayers) that Jerry is mugging to make the payments.

Jan. 09 2012 01:51 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.