What Do the Transportation Budget Numbers Mean?
When the Governor issued his proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 (begins July 1), there were some dizzying numbers thrown out for transportation.But, it may have left a few wondering, what is the context? What does it really mean for the annual road and bridge funding that provides a lot of work for aggregate, asphalt, and concrete producers? Is this more than in the past? Is it less? Does it take away from other transportation funds?
Well, here is the scoop.
First, one must realize that transportation funding in California is from the user-based taxes and fees—gas and diesel excise taxes, sales taxes, and weight and vehicle fees. Much of this is allocated through formulas and can't be used for non-transportation purposes.
Second, there is no on-going funding of transportation from the General Fund. When there are expenditures from the General Fund, it is usually for a limited time and for a dedicated program.
Third, this year there are two differences. One, the state has a large surplus in the General Fund. With this, the Governor is able to propose additional onetime money for transportation, above and beyond what is generated from the user fees.
The other difference is that the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is expected to provide a new infusion of money.
So, here is how the budget breaks down:
1) Fee-based funding for Roads, Bridges, and Transit, and how it compares to recent years.
Dedicated Transportation Fund Spending - 2018-2023
|Source||Use||2018-19 (Actual)||2019-20 (Actual)||2020-21 (Actual)||2021-22 (forecast)||2022-23 (Budget)|
|Fuel Excise Taxes
(gas and diesel)
|Allocated through statutory formulas for state and local roads||$7.56 billion||$7.80 billion||$7.81 billion||$8.82 billion||$ 9.07 billion|
|Vehicle Reg Fees
(TIF & RIF)
|State & local transportation priorities||$1.67 billion||$1.73 billion||$1.82 billion||$2.01 billion||$2.11 billion|
|Diesel Sales Tax||Transit||$0.92 billion||$0.93 billion||$0.76 billion||$1.00 billion||$1.02 billion|
|Truck weight fees||Debt service on transportation bonds||$1.18 billion||$1.16 billion||$1.24 billion||$1.29 billion||$1.32 billion|
2) The Governor proposes to spend $4.2 billion from the Proposition IA bond, which is dedicated to High Speed Rail.
3) One-time General Fund spending is proposed for transportation projects in the 2022-2023 budget. The total amount is $6.1 billion, and it is broken down as follows:
$3.25 billion for transit infrastructure
$1.2 billion for ports related infrastructure.
$750 million for active transportation projects
$500 million for rail grade separations
$400 million for climate adaptation project
4. In addition, the IIJA is expected to provide about $6 billion for state and local roads and bridges and $2 billion for transit in fiscal year 2022-23
So, the numbers are dizzying. About $23 billion from the fees, bond, and General Fund! Even more if you add in the IIJA!
Hopefully, this provides context on the budget proposal, where it comes from, and what is the same/different compared to prior years.