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Budget Trailer Bill Reveals Transportation Funding

It’s not an exact recounting of when and where the state’s monies will be spent, but the new bill is among several that show how and where California’s transportation spend may intersect with technology and innovation this fiscal year.

California Capitol_shutterstock_158519786
As they do every summer, state lawmakers approved several key pieces of legislation recently that offer considerable insight into the state’s technology and innovation spend during the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year.

The so-called “budget trailer bills” typically don’t empower the entire FY 2022-2023 budget by themselves but can center on particular areas of potential or likely spend. The current budget year began July 1; find examples of Industry Insider — California’s previous such coverage here and here. (In a recent Virtual Briefing on the New State Budget, Industry Insider — California broke down key elements of the approved budget. The briefing can be seen here and the slides are here.) One such piece of legislation, state Senate Bill 198 from state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, details a variety of projects of likely value to IT vendors. Among the takeaways:

  • The bill establishes The Reconnecting Communities: Highways to Boulevards Pilot Program, which will be administered by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) with “guidance from the (California State) Transportation Agency,” and by consulting with entities including the state Department of Housing and Community Development, the Strategic Growth Council, and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and others. It will provide funding, once it’s appropriated by lawmakers, to award competitive grants for “planning or implementing the conversion or transformation of underutilized state highways into multimodal corridors that serve residents of underserved communities.” Somewhat more specifically, the program’s creation will also necessitate creating a “data-driven definition for underserved communities” that may include “disadvantaged communities.”
  • Similar to existing law, which authorizes the California Department of General Services, with the consent of the California Highway Patrol to “enter into a lease-purchase agreement, or lease with an option to purchase agreement, for a build-to-suit office facility to replace the Department of the California Highway Patrol area office” in Tracy, SB 198 authorized replacing the CHP area office in Santa Ana. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill June 30.
  • Following current law, the bill authorizes Caltrans to use the “design-build method of procurement for an additional six projects per fiscal year” on the state highway system during FY 2022–2023 and FY 2023–2024. This, the bill notes, will effectively impose a “state-mandated local program” by authorizing this procurement method “for an overall greater number of projects.” Caltrans was previously authorized for 10 such projects.
  • The bill authorizes the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) with Caltrans, to invest in “port-specific high-priority projects that increase goods movement capacity on rail and roadways serving ports and at port terminals.” It would require 70 percent of the funds allocated to go to “infrastructure projects, each supporting goods movement related to the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, or both”; and 30 percent of those funds go to other high-priority projects “supporting ports and goods movement infrastructure in the rest of the state, including inland ports.”
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.