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JTF TransportationJTF

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The Los Angeles metropolitan area has been the nation’s most congested area for more than a  decade, and the San Francisco Bay area has been close behind.  In public opinion surveys,  Californians living in these areas routinely identify traffic congestion as a major problem.  ƒ ONE REASON FOR MORE CONGESTION: SLOWER HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION SINCE THE 1960s. Real capital outlay spending per vehicle‐mile traveled on state highways declined by 79% between  1965 and 1980 and has remained relatively constant since then.  Meanwhile, capital expenses per  new highway mile tripled between the early 1960s and the 1990s.  Maintenance and other  operating costs have also risen ($221 per person in 2002 vs. $78 in 1962).  The result has been less  new construction:  Between 1980 and 2006, California added only about 6% to its stock of state  highway lane miles, despite more than a doubling of state highway miles driven.  ƒ TRANSPORTATION FUNDING HAS BEEN CONSTRAINED IN RECENT YEARS … By 2000, inflation and increased fuel efficiency had reduced the real value of the gas tax – a major  source of transportation funds – to about one‐third of its 1970 value for each vehicle‐mile traveled.   Nineteen counties now use optional county sales taxes to fill the gap.  But getting voter approval  for these local taxes has become more difficult since 1996, when the voter threshold for approving  such taxes shifted from a simple majority to a two‐thirds supermajority requirement.  ƒ … BUT NEW FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING SOURCES MAY REVERSE THE TREND. 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