Truck lanes included in Schwarzenegger’s transportation plan

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New truck-only lanes are part of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed $107 billion investment over the next decade to improve the state’s transportation system. Schwarzenegger outlined his plan to lawmakers Jan. 5 in his annual State of the State speech: The governor’s office expanded little on the truck lanes, although it appears likely they would be toll lanes.

The plan calls for reducing congestion by 18 percent by 2016 through building 1,200 miles of new highway and high-occupancy lanes in the most congested regions and adding 600 miles of mass transit. The $107 billion transportation investment would be funded by:

  • $47 billion from federal funds and existing funding sources, such as Proposition 42, which mandates retail fuel sales tax go directly to transportation.
  • $48 billion in new funding, proposed from leveraging existing funds.
  • $12 billion in new bond funds to attract increased federal, local and private funding. Voters would have to approve this in two $6 billion authorizations in 2006 and 2008.
  • The state’s population is expected to grow as much as 30 percent over the next two decades. “Half a century ago, our predecessors faced exactly the same challenges, but they still planned for our future,” Schwarzenegger said. His plan describes public-private partnerships to “complete projects such as high-occupancy toll lanes, regular toll lanes, truck lanes and freight movement facilities where a predictable revenue stream will be created to repay capital investments.”

    The Reason Foundation, a widely-quoted libertarian think tank that has advised Schwarzenegger, last year called for a new state tolling and public-private partnership law. The foundation proposed truck-only toll lanes from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports through San Bernardino and up Interstate 15 to Nevada. A truck-only toll lanes project that would link the Port of Oakland and the Silicon Valley with Interstate 5 via Interstate 580 also was advocated.