The nation’s largest state DOT, Caltrans, signaled a strong move toward multimodalism, sustainability, and customer focus in a new strategic management plan released last week. The plan, which comprises a series of performance measures, represents a step away from traditional automobile infrastructure-centric views of DOT work. As Director Malcolm Dougherty notes in his introduction, this shift follows previous work to refocus the department’s mission.
California’s longstanding principle of relying on locally generated funds and suballocated state fuel taxes to improve the state highway system poses a principal-agent problem: Local funders have every incentive to fund expansions while leaving costly owner-operator responsibilities, including eventual reconstruction, to an increasingly cash-strapped state DOT. This month Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly published an op-ed urging a life-cycle approach that prioritizes system preservation.
The Presidio Parkway Phase I in San Francisco is the first state highway to be awarded a Greenroads certificate, indicating a high level of environmental sensitivity and sustainability during design and construction of the roadway. The project received a Bronze Rating. Key elements recognized by Greenroads in the project’s certification included an extensive public involvement process with special attention paid to biological, cultural, and natural resources.
A new report outlines steps that federal, state, and local decision makers can take to bring California’s transportation spending in line with its environmental and energy goals. The paper came out of a one-day session that involved leaders from business, academic, and policy sectors, including high-level staff from the California DOT (Caltrans) and the California State Transportation Agency.
Thanks to a quarter million dollar environmental justice grant from the California Department of Transportation, the City of Long Beach will now be able to study options for turning its Terminal Island Freeway into a local street, reclaiming 88 acres of land for a network of parks, and improving public health.
There hasn’t been a new highway tunnel built in California in 50 years, but new tunnels that will provide an alternative to a slide-prone stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway will be very impressive when they open.