When his father was governor, California was awash in federal highway dollars. Now Jerry Brown's administration contemplates a risky tax hike, juggling the need for road improvements with a clean, transit-oriented agenda.
More than a little historical irony accompanies California's newest budgetary predicament. "After years of neglect, state officials estimate it will cost $59 billion to fix the now-crumbling roads and freeways that Gov. Edmund G. 'Pat' Brown championed more than five decades ago. And it's up to his son, Gov. Jerry Brown, to find the money."
Pat Brown's mid-century administration benefited from abundant federal money for new roads and highways. Now, federal transportation funding is drying up while an explosion of efficient cars has hobbled the state gas tax.
But more taxes are the only clear solution. "[T]he governor recently called a special legislative session to focus lawmakers' attention on the problems with roads, and a hearing is scheduled for Thursday. The result could be new fees and taxes for drivers — a politically charged scenario in a state with a celebrated romance with the automobile." Auto-related taxes are often politically toxic in California. But this time, business may be willing to stomach a tax hike for the sake of better roads.
Gov. Brown's administration is caught between its stated environmental priorities—including high-speed rail—and an auto infrastructure behemoth reaching deep into the state's coffers.
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Proposal Would Transform L.A.’s ‘Freeway to Nowhere’ Into Park, Housing
A never-completed freeway segment could see new life as a mixed-use development with housing, commercial space, and one of the county’s largest parks.
Report: Bike Lanes Can't Make up for New Roads
If California wants to meet its climate goals, the state must stop funding its myriad road construction and expansion projects.
Minneapolis Affordable Housing Project Largest in 20 Years
The city opened its first large multifamily affordable housing complex in decades, but a recent court ruling against the Minneapolis 2040 rezoning plan could jeopardize future projects.
NYC Mayor Proposes Eliminating Parking Minimums
Mayor Adams wants to stop requiring off-site parking for new buildings to reduce the costs of construction as part of the ‘City of Yes’ package of zoning reforms.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.