Latest News & Notices:

Agency Provides Updated Draft Guidelines for the Intercity Rail and Transit Capital Program

December 19, 2014

As announced on December 4th, the Transportation Agency is soliciting feedback on draft guidelines for two new programs, the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program and the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. These new cap-and-trade-funded programs will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility.

The guidelines for the Capital Program have been updated since their initial posting on December 4th.

The Updated Draft Guidelines for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program can be found here.

These draft guidelines officially start a statutorily required process. After these guidelines have been available for 30 days, two public workshops will be held to solicit more feedback.

In the meantime, before those public workshops, please feel free to comment on these updated draft guidelines by e-mail.

Comments can be submitted to tircpcomments [at] [dot] gov.

The details for the public workshop are to be determined and will be noticed prominently here on this website.

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Caltrans Prepares for Massive Winter Storm

December 10, 2014

SACRAMENTO--Caltrans is preparing for one of the strongest storms Californians have seen in years with more than 1,500 pieces of storm-related equipment and over 3,000 maintenance employees ready for this week's major weather shift that is on track to impact several regions throughout the state.

"Caltrans' first priority is the safety of the motoring public and we will be working around the clock to keep roads open and clear," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Crews have been busy checking pumping stations, readying equipment and clearing road side drainage ditches across the state. Generators have been checked and have plenty of fuel for operation throughout the anticipated storms, and crews have been busy filling sand bags. Poles measuring snow height are in and are being inspected and marked. Chain control facilities are operational and crews will be moved to where they are needed as conditions warrant. Sand sheds are fully stocked for the season, avalanche control measures are checked and operable and response crews are ready.

Traffic Management Centers throughout the state will be monitoring highway and weather conditions and are ready to dispatch crews and equipment to trouble spots and respond to traffic incidents. Caltrans will activate its Changeable Message Signs and Highway Advisory Radios to communicate to the public about highway conditions.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm is on track to be one of the strongest storms Californians have seen in years and motorists should be prepared for high winds, heavy rain, floods and snow and ice in higher elevations.

Severe weather can be alarming and hazardous for drivers. The best defense is not to venture out on the roads during stormy weather, but if you must drive, use caution, common sense and always be prepared, especially when traveling in high elevation areas.

Winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly and drivers should have their vehicle winterized by checking its brakes, coolant, tires, windshield wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust systems. If possible, have your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic. 

All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive or snow tires, should carry correctly sized chains when travelling during snowy weather. Highway signs will indicate if chains are required. If motorists do not have chains in their possession, they may not be allowed to proceed and risk being cited or fined.

Motorists should check road conditions frequently. For state-operated highways this can be done in a number of ways: visit the Caltrans website at or to get road conditions, weekly road reports and press releases by district. Check information through the automated California Highway Information Network (CHIN) by telephoning 1 (800) 427-7623 (1-800-GAS-ROAD) and following the prompts. Motorists can also tune to the Caltrans Highway Advisory Radio (HAR), which broadcasts road conditions on low-frequency radio transmitters located along some mountain highways.

During winter storm conditions, motorists should anticipate unexpected delays and closures. Caltrans strives to reduce the frequency and the length of unplanned closures on state highways. During major storms when traffic flow is heavy, Caltrans may meter traffic to ease congestion.

The following tips will assist you in making your winter driving experience safe and pleasant:

  • Allow enough time for your trip.
  • Be observant of everything going on around you.
  • Remember – black ice is nearly invisible!
  • Keep your fuel tank full and your windows clear.
  • Drive as conditions permit – slower acceleration, slower speeds and slower braking in winter conditions.
  • Reduce speed and leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Use headlights in rainy and snowy weather. During fog, drive with headlights on low beam; never drive with just parking or fog lights. Remember that you must have your lights on when using your wipers.
  • If you get stuck, stay with your vehicle and wait for help.

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Agency and Caltrans Seek Public Input on Intercity Rail and Transit Program Draft Guidelines

New Cap-and-Trade-Funded Programs Will Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Mobility

December 4, 2014

SACRAMENTO—In preparation for two upcoming public workshops, the California State Transportation Agency today published draft guidelines for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, a new grant program for rail and bus capital improvements that integrate state and local rail and other transit systems. This program is funded initially with $25 million in the 2014-15 state budget, and starting in 2015-16, with 10% of annual auction proceeds going forward.

Earlier this week, Caltrans published draft guidelines for another new grant program, the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program, designed to support new or expanded bus and rail services, especially in disadvantaged communities. 

The workshops are an opportunity to discuss the draft guidelines for both these programs and offer comments:

December 10: Southern California
San Bernardino Associated Governments
1170 W 3rd Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410
9-11 am, Director’s Board Room
December 17: Northern California
California Environmental Protection Agency
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95812
9-11 am, Byron Sher Auditorium

Written comments can also be submitted to tircpcomments [at] [dot] gov for the Capital Program and to lctopcomments [at] [dot] gov for the Operations Program.

The 2014-15 State Budget provides $832 million to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund from Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds to support existing and pilot programs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit disadvantaged communities. This expenditure plan will reduce emissions through several programs, including ones modernizing the state’s rail system (including both high-speed rail and public transit), encouraging sustainable community development with an emphasis on public transportation and affordable housing, restoring forests in both urban and rural settings, increasing energy, water, and agricultural efficiency and creating incentives for additional recycling. And under SB 535 (De Leon) at least 25 percent of these funds will be invested for the benefit of California's most disadvantaged communities.

As part of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, the Transportation Agency will administer $25 million in funding in 2014-15, via a competitive grant program, to rail and bus transit operators for capital improvements that integrate state and local rail and other transit systems. These will include projects located in disadvantaged communities and those that provide connectivity to the high-speed rail system. In subsequent years, the Capital Program will receive 10% of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The draft guidelines for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program are located here.

The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program allocates $25 million in 2014-15, distributed by the State Transit Assistance Program formula, for local transit agencies to support new or expanded bus and rail services. With an emphasis on disadvantaged communities, approved projects will support new or expanded bus or rail services, or expanded intermodal transit facilities. They may also include equipment acquisition, fueling, and maintenance and other costs to operate those services or facilities, with each project reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In subsequent years, the Capital Program will receive 5% of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The draft guidelines for the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program are located here.

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High-Speed Rail Authority Honors Senator Darrell Steinberg

November 18, 2014

SACRAMENTO--The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) Board of Directors today honored California Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) with a commendation at their monthly meeting. The Board adopted a resolution recognizing Senator Steinberg for his years of legislative leadership and continuous efforts in helping bring the nation’s first high-speed rail system to California.

From Left to Right: Vice Chair Jim Hartnett, Board Chair Dan Richard,  Senator Darrell Steinberg, CEO Jeff Morales, Board Member Richard Frank.
From Left to Right: Vice Chair Jim Hartnett, Board Chair Dan Richard, Senator Darrell Steinberg, CEO Jeff Morales, Board Member Richard Frank.

“The California High-Speed Rail Authority and this Board are indebted to the Senator for all he has done to bring high-speed rail and its benefits to the people of California," said Authority Board Chair Dan Richard. “From his first days as Senate President pro Tempore to his last, Senator Steinberg championed high-speed rail and its positive effects on the state’s economy and environment.   We're especially grateful to Darrell Steinberg for his dynamic and sensitive leadership in shepherding the key high-speed rail appropriation through the Senate."

“Working on California’s world leading environmental legacy has been an honor,” said Senator Steinberg. “I have been a long-time supporter of California High-Speed Rail because the project reflects who we are as Californians: visionary, optimistic, industrious, and deeply concerned about the quality of our treasured environmental assets. Working closely with fellow California leaders, we were able to put together a long term investment strategy of future Cap and Trade revenue that will help cement California High-Speed Rail as a key tool in our fight to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve California air quality.”

In his first year as Senate President pro Tempore, Senator Steinberg played a vital role in authoring and securing passage of Senate Bill 1029, (Budget Act of 2012), which authorized funds and laid out a vision for a statewide rail modernization program with high-speed rail as the centerpiece. In his last year as Senate President pro Tempore, Senator Steinberg defied skeptics and delivered SB 862 (Budget Act of 2014), which established a long-term expenditure plan for  Cap and Trade auction revenue that prioritized affordable housing, sustainable communities, and mass transit to further the climate change goals of Assembly Bill 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006). In addition, as part of the Budget Act of 2014, California’s high-speed rail system was allocated an ongoing source of funding to help in its effort to reduce greenhouse gasses emitted through transportation and help spur sustainable planning around high-speed rail stations.

Senator Steinberg was elected to the California State Senate in 2006 after having served three terms in the California State Assembly and six years on the Sacramento City Council. In 2008, he was elected by his fellow state senators to serve as President pro Tempore of the California State Senate.

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DMV Extends Office Hours and Adds Appointments For First-Time Driver License Applicants

November 12, 2014

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced that it is extending office hours and adding appointment opportunities to support the issuance of all original driver licenses, including licenses that will be issued under AB 60 starting on January 2, 2015.

“DMV is committed to providing excellent customer service to all Californians,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Customers with appointments have much shorter wait times, and now all customers seeking new driver licenses will have extra appointment opportunities.”

DMV anticipates processing approximately 1.4 million additional driver license applications during the first three years after implementation of AB 60. Some of the additional services DMV will be offering include:

  • Extended Saturday office hours by appointment for all new driver license applicants at up to 60 DMV field offices across California starting Saturday, January 3, 2015.
  • Increased number of available appointments in many field offices that will hire additional staff.
  • New driver license applicants will be able to schedule appointments with the DMV up to 90 days in advance, double the current 45-day window.
  • Starting December 1, 2014, all first-time driver license applicants must make an appointment to visit their local DMV office. However, four new driver license processing centers will continue to offer walk-in (and appointment) service: Lompoc, Stanton, Granada Hills (all opening November 17, 2014) and San Jose (opening December 1, 2014). Appointments are recommended.

These additional services will be available to all customers seeking an original driver license—meaning the applicant’s first license received in California—whether under AB 60 or otherwise. Customers applying for an original driver license will need to do the following:

  • Make an appointment to visit a DMV field office up to 90 days in advance (or walk-in or appointment at the temporary driver license processing centers in Lompoc, Stanton, Granada Hills or San Jose)
  • Study for the driver license exam
  • Complete a driver license application form (DL 44) available at the DMV office
  • Provide DMV with either:
    1. Social security number and proof of identity and legal presence; or
    2. Proof of identity and California residency under AB 60. Last week, DMV posted the list of documents that applicants will need to bring to DMV to obtain a new driver license under AB 60. Details regarding these documents are available on the AB 60 webpage at
  • Pass a vision test, TouchScreen knowledge (written) test, and if applicable, a road sign test
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have a picture taken
  • Schedule a future appointment for the behind-the-wheel driving test

Applicants under 18 applying for an original driver license will also need to submit proof of driver education completion. For further information about obtaining a new driver license, refer to the California Driver
Handbook or visit

It is easy to make an appointment to come into a DMV field office; you can make an appointment online, use the DMV now app, or call 1-800-777-0133. Appointments are available up to 90 days in advance for new driver licenses and 45 days in advance for other services.

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Caltrans Director Dougherty Honored by NACTO for Leadership

October 23, 2014

Director Malcolm Dougherty Receives Excellence in Leadership Award (Credit: Tilly Chang)

Last night, The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) hosted their opening reception for their designing cities conference in San Francisco. The reception honored Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty with NACTO’s 2014 Excellence in Leadership Award for his vision for and support of innovative and flexible urban street design.

Earlier this year, Caltrans Director Dougherty announced the department's endorsement of the NACTO urban street and bikeway design guidelines.

NACTO’s press release follows in full. You can learn more about NACTO at their website:

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Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty Honored with 2014 NACTO Excellence in Leadership Award
Posted on October 22, 2014
By Corinne Kisner
Press contact: Corinne Kisner, 646-629-4165

SAN FRANCISCO (October 22, 2014) – The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) celebrated the vision and accomplishments of Malcolm Dougherty, Director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), awarding him the 2014 Excellence in Leadership Award for his support of a flexible approach to urban street design in the nation’s most populous state. NACTO President and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin presented Dougherty with the award at the opening reception of the NACTO Designing Cities Conference.

Dougherty has positioned Caltrans as a national leader on street design, updating its Highway Design Manual in 2012 to facilitate the design of complete streets and, in April 2014, endorsing the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Caltrans’ endorsement allows cities and towns in California to use the Guides both for designing local streets and in planning city streets that coincide with the state highway system.

“NACTO is proud to honor Malcolm Dougherty for his inclusive, city-friendly approach to streets,” said Director Reiskin. “Under his direction, Caltrans is swiftly becoming a model of how states can help make city streets into great places.”

“Malcolm Dougherty has moved California to the forefront of the nation, paving the way for both Caltrans and the nearly 500 cities in California to design streets that serve everyone. We’re seeing more and more cities and states following his lead.” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair.

“I very much appreciate the recognition from NACTO acknowledging Caltrans’ efforts this past year to give appropriate consideration to all modes of travel when we implement transportation solutions,” Dougherty said. “Caltrans’ endorsement of these innovative street design options is an important part of modernizing our approach to improving transportation for all Californians.”

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About the National Association of City Transportation Officials
NACTO is an association of 38 cities formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. Members include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, DC. Affiliate members of NACTO include Arlington (VA), Austin, Boulder, Burlington (VT), Cambridge, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Hoboken, Indianapolis, Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Somerville (MA), and Ventura (CA). International members include Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

High-Speed Rail Authority Honors Assembly Transportation Chair

October 14, 2014

SACRAMENTO--The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) Board of Directors today honored Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) with a commendation at their monthly meeting. The Board adopted a resolution recognizing Assemblywoman Lowenthal for her leadership and unmatched vision in proactively addressing California’s long-term environmental, economic and mobility needs, including California’s high-speed rail program. 

“Since her election to office in 2008, Assemblywoman Lowenthal has shown her commitment to pushing California’s transportation system past the status quo,” said Authority Board Chair Dan Richard. “Ms. Lowenthal has been a constant champion for improving California’s passenger rail system. Our progress in bringing the nation’s first high-speed rail system to California is directly tied to her efforts while in office.”

“I’m grateful for the hard work of the Authority and its staff in moving this project from vision to reality,” said Lowenthal(D-Long Beach), Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “I firmly believe that high-speed rail is the key to building a brighter future for all Californians and our best hope for bountiful jobs, transformed communities and fast, efficient, clean transportation to meet the demands of our growing population.”

Assemblywoman Lowenthal was elected to represent Assembly District 54 (subsequently Assembly District 70) in 2008 after serving two terms on the Long Beach City Council, two terms on the Long Beach Unified School District, and on the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ms. Lowenthal was appointed chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation in 2010 by then-Speaker John A. Perez, becoming ex-officio member of the California Transportation Commission, where she oversees public investment in highway, passenger rail and transportation projects.

Transportation Agency Releases CHP Bay Bridge Management Investigation

October 3, 2014

SACRAMENTO—The California State Transportation Agency today announced the conclusion of a California Highway Patrol (CHP) probe into Caltrans management activities during fabrication of Bay Bridge components in China, an investigation that found no violation of law.

“The California Highway Patrol investigators found no retaliation or retribution against employees or contractors or any other violation of law,” said Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly, who launched the investigation after hearing allegations of retaliation lodged against Caltrans during a Senate hearing in January. “While the California Highway Patrol found no violation of law, it identified past management shortfalls that must be addressed. I’ve asked Director Dougherty to review the document and its recommendations and make necessary changes to the management structure of the bridge to improve project oversight. I’ve asked for the new management structure to be in place by December 1, 2014.” 

The reorganization will focus on the recommendations made in the CHP report including improving communication, documentation, transparency and consistent adherence to policies. Mindful of budget pressures, the reorganization will also include right-sizing the operation to better comport with the remaining work on the project. 

The CHP’s investigation, titled “Inquiry Into Personnel Practices Associated with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Project,” probes management of Bay Bridge construction and component fabrication that occurred more than five years ago, primarily overseas in China. The report does not address the safety of the bay bridge, an issue which was not in question. Witnesses during Senate hearings expressed consensus regarding bridge safety, even those who questioned management practices.  

Earlier this year, the State Senate Transportation Committee alleged that employees suffered retaliation from management after voicing concerns about quality control. The CHP found no retaliation: “The totality of the evidence does not support the elements of a violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act,” investigators wrote.

CHP also found nothing unlawful in Caltrans’ decision six years ago to allow new companies to bid for a quality assurance contract. “The investigation revealed there was insufficient evidence to support a claim of collusion, or an effort to select other than the most qualified firm,” investigators concluded.

Although CHP did not find retaliation or other violations of law, the report describes how poor internal communication and management practices created distrust and confusion, leading to speculation of improper activity by some employees. “While management personnel indicated that those concerns brought forward were considered, and a course of action selected, they failed to communicate this information to subordinate employees, resulting in a perception that management intended to suppress or ignore concerns,” investigators found.

Since January, Caltrans has been engaged in a department reform effort to improve performance, accountability, management and communication. The department’s new vision includes being a “performance-driven, transparent and accountable organization,” and many of the past management issues identified in the investigation were inconsistent with that new vision.  

“I’m working closely with Director Dougherty to improve Caltrans’ operations, with greater emphasis on transparency and accountability,” said Secretary Kelly. “The CHP report reflects the fact that we have more improvements to make—and we will.”

The CHP’s investigative report can be found here. The CHP does not list names in public reports of official investigations. To assist readers of the report, a list of the names and titles of witnesses who testified before the Senate can be found

Secretary Kelly Issues Statement on Caltrans “Intelligent Transportation Society of America” Awards

September 10, 2014

SACRAMENTO—California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly issued the following statement after the Intelligent Transportation Society of America awarded the California Department of Transportation with its top honor in the categories of New Innovative Product or Service and Best New Innovative Practice.

“The California Department of Transportation has implemented multiple reforms to improve its operation and more effectively deliver a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system for all Californians,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. “This award honors the California Department of Transportation for taking an innovative approach to strengthening California’s existing transportation system and improving trade and goods movement along key freight corridors.”

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) awarded the Cordelia Truck Scales Modernization Project with one of its 2014 Best of ITS Awards in the category of best new innovative product, service or application. The project involved the modernization of the busiest commercial vehicle inspection station in the United States. In 2012, more than 2.4 million trucks traveled through the old facility and more than 40,000 inspections were performed by the California Highway Patrol.

The new facility’s inspection bays help California Highway Patrol inspectors examine commercial trucks and identify high-risk vehicles without reducing the free-flow of traffic on Interstate 80. With nearly 10,000 trucks traveling from the Port of Oakland along I-80 to Northern California and beyond, in addition to truck traffic from other points in the Bay Area, California needed a new station that could handle the growing demand along this key trade corridor.

The Cordelia Truck Scale is one of the busiest commercial vehicle inspection stations in the United States. The old eastbound Cordelia Truck Scales, built in 1958, contributed significantly to the congestion on I-80 due to the lack of automation tools. The modernization of the Cordelia truck scales benefits all travelers on I-80 by reducing congestion and improving safety, and enabling the California Highway Patrol to conduct safety inspections in a more efficient manner.

The $97 million project was completed with support from the California Highway Patrol, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Solano Transportation Authority, and California Transportation Commission. Funding sources included the Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Fund Program and Bay Area Toll Authority bridge tolls.

Caltrans also received an award for its “One-Stop-Shop” web application that improves traveler safety by offering real-time travel data for planning trips in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. The application provides current weather and traffic information along with traffic cameras, road information, rest stops and points of interest. To access OSS please visit:

The awards were announced this week during the ITS America awards ceremony at the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Detroit. The highly competitive Best of ITS Awards recognize projects that demonstrate specific and measurable outcomes and exemplified innovation.

For more information about the project, visit the Caltrans website

Secretary Kelly Signs port of entry mou with mexico transportation ministry

July 30, 2014

SACRAMENTO—Highlighting the importance of goods movement and international trade, California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States that establishes an oversight committee to monitor construction of a new port of entry at Otay Mesa.

“The fact that Mexico is entering into an agreement with California to improve our shared port of entry reflects the important role of international trade and commerce between California and Mexico,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly. “This partnership between Mexico and California will help strengthen our land connection and the tens of billions of dollars in commerce that flows through our mutual border.”

Under today’s agreement, a bi-national, multiagency oversight committee will be formed to facilitate policy issues and review major milestones during ongoing project development of the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. The committee will focus on financing and revenue sharing, reducing air pollution and congestion, project management coordination and ensuring appropriate staffing for safety, security and efficiency of the ports of entry.

The State Route 11 / Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project, which is estimated to cost around $750 million, is being built in four segments and the first segment began construction in December 2013. Meanwhile, the Mexican Communications and Transportation Ministry is preparing to construct two direct access roadways and the new Otay II Port of Entry in the city of Tijuana, Baja California.

Otay Mesa East-Otay II is a flagship border infrastructure project with the objective of fostering bilateral trade in the Baja California-California region by reducing waiting times through a single and efficient binational operation and the extended and innovative use of technology. Since the beginning of the project, the State of California, the Communications and Transportation Ministry and the San Diego Association of Governments have developed collaborative efforts on a variety of tasks such as binational infrastructure planning and coordination, intelligent transportation systems and environmental protection. This MOU strengthens cooperation and supports the effective delivery of this new port of entry.

Here is a map of the ongoing and planned construction activities to improve and build a new port of entry:


In 2013, approximately $50 billion worth of goods moved across California-México land ports of entry, of which more than $35 billion flowed through the San Diego-Tijuana region ports of entry. Unfortunately, bottlenecks at the existing Otay Mesa Port of Entry, the San Diego-Tijuana region’s only commercial border crossing, and the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the world, regularly create wait times exceeding two hours per vehicle.

The Memorandum of Understanding is here.

Transportation Leaders Applaud Historic Investment in Public Transportation and Connecting California

June 20, 2014

SACRAMENTO—Following Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s signing of the 2014-2015 Budget Act, California Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly joined with transportation leaders around the state to praise the largest ongoing transportation investment in decades.

“This year’s budget marks the first time in decades that California has made a long-term commitment to improving transportation and connecting California’s transportation systems in a meaningful way,” California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly said. “The Governor’s budget includes significant, ongoing investments in public transportation and multimodal transportation that will help connect California and improve quality of life for years to come.”

The 2014-15 budget includes a $1.7 billion transportation funding package including:

  • $300 million in ongoing funding for new and existing public transportation,
  • $130 million for public transit and building sustainable communities through affordable housing and active transportation projects,
  • $351 million in general fund loan repayments to help preserve and maintain California roads,
  • $160 million in bond funding for intercity rail, and
  • $793 million in bond funding for transit capital investment.

“As owners and operators of the local component of California’s transportation system, California counties greatly appreciate the investment in local streets and roads, regional transportation plans and transit—all critical to achieve a multi-modal, seamless transportation system,” said Matt Cate, Executive Director, California State Association of Counties. “The Governor remains committed to investing in our transportation system with a clear focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. California counties fully support the regional transportation plans that are expected to ultimately achieve that goal.”

“We are pleased to see significant infrastructure investments included in the final budget, including for transportation. Cities are ready to put the transportation funds to work quickly,” said Chris McKenzie, Executive Director, League of California Cities. “In addition, the continuous appropriation of Cap and Trade Auction Revenues for transit, affordable housing and sustainable communities will fund critical projects in communities across the state. We appreciate the Governor’s recognition of the great need for these important infrastructure investments.”

The budget act appropriates 40 percent of future cap and trade auction proceeds to transit and rail investment. This includes 25 percent of proceeds for the high-speed rail project and 15 percent for bus and rail operators across California. Among many projects expected to benefit the state’s rail investment is the extension of tracks at Los Angeles Union Station, in part with $175 million in Prop 1A high-speed rail funding, to increase rail capacity up to 50 percent. State funding also provided $115 million in connectivity funds to help build a light rail connection for a one-seat ride throughout Los Angeles County and over $600 million for the Caltrain electrification project.

“We applaud the Legislature and the Governor for approving a committed, ongoing funding source for the implementation of SB 375 through the Sustainable Communities program. California’s regions, who are responsible for developing innovative strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions and meet the requirements of SB 375, look forward to working with the Administration to establish guidelines and a regionally balanced distribution method for the funds,” said Bill Higgins, Executive Director, California Association of Councils of Governments, which represents California’s Councils of Governments, including the state’s regional and metropolitan planning organizations.

“Today Governor Brown signed into law a state budget and a landmark expenditure plan for state Cap and Trade revenues, including significant new resources to enhance public transportation services for all Californians and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” said California Transit Association executive director Joshua W. Shaw. “The plan provides formula funding for transit operations and capital programs, ensuring predictability to transit agencies statewide; makes transit funding available for a statewide competitive program to be managed by the state’s transportation agencies, thus ensuring the most innovative projects rise to the top; funds the implementation of regional sustainable communities strategies that will make local transit services more effective and efficient; and, incentivizes the commercialization of low-carbon transit vehicle technologies.”

“This package,” continued Shaw, “including progress towards integrating local and regional rail services into the state’s high-speed rail transit system, offers an historic investment opportunity for public transportation and our communities depending on enhanced and cleaner mobility options. Expanding and improving transit service will provide significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions everywhere in California, especially in disadvantaged communities throughout the state, helping achieve the goals of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The Governor also called for, and signed into law today as part of the budget, an appropriation of the remaining transit funds from Proposition 1B; our transit systems will immediately put those dollars to work, purchasing newer, cleaner buses and expanding rail transit systems all over the state.”

“Thanks to Governor Brown, State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and other key legislative leaders, California now has a long-term plan for Cap and Trade expenditures that addresses the funding needs of critical state, regional and local public transit services so that we can improve the transit network and get more people out of their cars,” said Michael J. Scanlon General Manager/CEO, San Mateo County Transit District. “The resources allocated to the Peninsula will be used for our most pressing and immediate needs: modernizing Caltrain service and continuing to improve SamTrans bus service. Through these efforts we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take vehicles off already congested roads.”

“All Californians need to thank Governor Brown and legislative leadership for crafting this multi-faceted funding program designed to target clean air resources and transit investments where they’re needed most,” said Donna DeMartino, general manager/CEO of the San Joaquin Regional Transit District, and chair of the California Transit Association. “Our Association’s leadership, its member public transit systems and its private sector industry suppliers look forward to working with Governor Brown’s Administration and the Legislature to move this important program forward and ensure effective transit projects and services are delivered to the millions of Californians who need and rely on public transit.”

This budget also directly supports the recommendations of the Transportation Agency in the California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities initial report issued by the agency earlier this year, including calls for dedicated, pay-as-you-go funding sources for transportation.

Dedicated funding sources allow construction projects to leverage a funding commitment to obtain more project support. Last week, high-speed rail pointed to letters from potential private sector investors who express interest subject in the project if there were a dedicated, long-term funding source. The continuing commitments for high speed rail and transit in this year’s budget will help secure a multimodal transportation system to help connect Californians for decades.

“The commitment by the Governor and the Legislature to provide ongoing cap and trade funding to high-speed rail means we can accelerate our program to connect California and transform passenger rail in the state,” said Jeff Morales, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. “This budget enables us to continue work on the high-speed rail backbone in the Central Valley and advance the program on multiple segments, while stepping up projects with local and regional partners, leveraging new funding sources and attracting private investment.”

Additional details on the 2014-15 state budget are available here:

Transportation Agency Announces “Bike Month” Mileage Competition Results

June 10, 2014

SACRAMENTO--The California State Transportation Agency today announced that state agencies and departments across California have reported more than 550,000 miles of biking during the “May Is Bike Month” statewide employer challenges.

“This Administration is committed to improving transportation—and public health—by supporting healthy and sustainable transportation options,'” said Secretary Brian Kelly. “We led by example in May, collectively biking more than half-a-million miles to celebrate Bike Month.”

“May Is Bike Month” is an annual event that promotes bicycling in California by allowing employers and individuals to log commute, errand and recreation bike miles during the month of May. This year, all state departments and agencies logged 557,517 miles of biking as part of the small, medium and larger employer challenges. All participants biked a total of approximately 1.9 million miles, a twelve percent increase over last year’s mileage.

Californians are increasingly embracing the environmental and public health benefits of active transportation including cycling and walking. A recently released Caltrans California Household Travel Survey revealed that, statewide, 23 percent of household trips are made via non-car transportation, more than double the participation 10 years ago.

In response to this increased demand, and as part of its effort to modernize its operations, Caltrans recently endorsed National Association of City Transportation Officials’ guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways. California is the third state in the nation to endorse these new design guidelines. Increasing opportunities for walking and bicycling in California helps improve public health and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year, Governor Brown signed legislation (Senate Bill 99, Chapter 359 and Assembly Bill 101, Chapter 354) creating the new Active Transportation Program, which distributes funding for human-powered transportation projects and programs. The new $360 million program replaced a patchwork of small grant programs with a comprehensive program that is more efficient. Caltrans began accepting applications from cities and counties in April 2014.

For more information on “May Is Bike Month,” including the latest mileage data, visit:


April 11, 2014

SACRAMENTO--In an effort to support the construction of more multimodal local streets and roads, Caltrans today endorsed National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways.

“California’s transportation system must be multimodal and support bicycles and pedestrians as well as automobiles,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Caltrans’ endorsement of these innovative street design options is an important part of modernizing our approach to improving transportation for all Californians.”

Today’s announcement makes California the third state in the nation to endorse these new design guidelines. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also supports this flexible approach to bike and pedestrian transportation design.

State Smart Transportation Initiative, which recently published an independent assessment of Caltrans, recommended endorsing these guidelines as part of an effort to modernize the department and increase the sustainability of California’s transportation system.

All streets within cities and towns may use the new guidelines. In addition to endorsing the new guidelines for local streets and roads, these guidelines can be referenced for city streets that are part of the state highway system. Caltrans is also evaluating the guidelines for future updates to the Highway Design Manual, the standard for building on the state’s highway system.

“My Great Streets Initiative is reimagining our streets to make our communities more livable, sustainable, and safe,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I look forward to working with Caltrans and Los Angeles city staff to immediately begin using the NACTO design guidelines as we pursue a multimodal vision for L.A.'s transportation system.”

“We will strengthen the dynamic, effective partnership with Caltrans to build safer, stronger transportation infrastructure,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “By working together we can help establish the State as a leader for designing safe and people-oriented streets.”

The guidelines are based on successful innovations including separated bikeways and pedestrian refuge islands. Some of the new design features that cities could implement under these new guidelines include:

Buffered or separated bike lanes, to separate cyclists from traffic.

Bike boxes, which allow cyclists to queue during congested traffic and improve left turns.

Flexibility in pedestrian access and sidewalk design, to enhance quality of life.

Caltrans’ endorsement of the NACTO guidelines is part of an ongoing effort to integrate a multimodal and flexible approach to transportation planning and design, to provide Californians with more transportation choices. In 2012, Caltrans updated its Highway Design Manual to facilitate the design of Complete Streets, which incorporates a multimodal approach to highway design. Caltrans also recently published Main Street, California – a Guide for Improving Community and Transportation Vitality.

A recently released Caltrans California Household Travel Survey revealed that, statewide, 23 percent of household trips are made via non-car transportation, more than double than 10 years ago. Caltrans and cities across the state are eager to support this trend.

“Business leaders prioritize active transportation as an important tactic for lowering our environmental impact and increasing people’s health, productivity and happiness,” said Carl Guardino, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “Designing safer roads will further help attract creative entrepreneurs to our cities and towns.”

Visit the NACTO website for more information on the Urban Street Design Guide, including photos and videos of new sidewalk and pedestrian facilities. The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide also includes photos and videos of protected bikeways and other innovative transportation design features.

“Caltrans is showing great leadership in working with cities and counties to embrace creative and more convenient transportation options for everyone,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly.

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