California’s transportation infrastructure is facing a crisis. The state needs more investment in road systems but the current financing methods are insufficient for the magnitude of work. According to the 2015 Ten-Year State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) plan, maintenance and repair of the state’s highway system is undersupplied by $5.7 billion a year. In addition, a report by the California Legislative Conference Committee on transportation funding (Committee Report) recently estimated that it would require $7.8 billion annually to bring local street and road repair up to the best management practice level. In comparison to other states, the Reason Foundation ranked California’s highways 42nd in overall performance and 43rd in maintenance in 2016. These deficits and rankings reveal that the state needs new funding solutions.

Overview of Maintenace Problem




Develop and maintain a statewide transportation network that is adequate for the needs of business, agriculture and individual citizens.


California needs a comprehensive, well-financed, dependable and efficient transportation financing mechanism that allows for maintenance of deteriorating infrastructure, encourages new construction projects, and ultimately creates well-paying and reliable jobs for Californians.

California’s continued economic development will be closely tied to an improved transportation system, both for workers and students commuting to jobs and classes, and for the movement of goods around the state and to our international seaports and airports.

Challenges to new transportation funding proposals remain, however, as many voters continue to resist increased fees and taxes.

To overcome this challenge, the Legislature should look to local transportation funding measures for guidance on how to build trust with the voters. The local measures tend to pass when local officials successfully make their case to constituents by identifying the specific need for and benefits of transportation projects, and ensuring there is transparency in how the funds will be utilized. The Legislature must take this approach in developing its final proposal.

Major Victories

Stopped or secured amendments in 2016 to bills jeopardizing the production of California-based fuel (AB 1759, AB 1882, AB 2729).

Backed legislation signed into law in 2016 that will increase transportation network companies’ use of electric vehicles (AB 2763).

Stopped proposals in 2016 that would have created unnecessary and burdensome mandates on vehicle sales and stifled the ridesharing economy (AB 1108, SB 1035).

Supported legislation signed into law in 2010 authorizing use of design-build by the Riverside County Transportation Commission (AB 2098).

Stopped new tax on goods movement in 2008 by leading a coalition of associations and businesses that persuaded former Governor Schwarzenegger to veto a bill to increase the cost of shipping goods and make California less competitive by imposing an illegal per-container tax in the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland (SB 974).

Issue Summary

California Sustainable Freight Action Plan

Position: The California Chamber of Commerce does not oppose the goal of zero-emission freight movement technology, equipment and infrastructure, but the Action Plan must maintain economic competitiveness as an equal policy objective. Any emission goals or targets must be balanced with clear, specific and measurable economic targets, and there must be engagement with industry stakeholders in developing these targets.

Any new rules or regulations also must be transparent, reasonable and contain offramps if compliance proves unworkable in the future. In addition, these rules and regulations should be technology-neutral, technologically feasible and cost-effective. Finally, in order to effectuate the goals contained in the Action Plan, the state must develop long-term, dedicated funding sources for freight infrastructure.

California Sustainable Freight Action Plan

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Staff Contact

Amy-Mmagu-2011-300x300Amy Mmagu
Policy Advocate
Climate Change,
Energy, Environmental
Regulation​, Transportation