About SB 1
Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, was signed into law on April 28, 2017 and is a landmark transportation investment opportunity to rebuild California by fixing local roads, freeways, and bridges in communities across California. This legislative package invests $54 billion over the next decade to fix roads, freeways and bridges in communities across California and puts more dollars toward transit and safety.
Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) (Beall, Chapter 5, Statutes of 2017), also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, was passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on April 28, 2017. SB 1 provides the first significant, stable and ongoing increase in state transportation funding in over two decades. The increase in funding allows Local Agencies and Caltrans to fix California’s roads and bridges, reduce traffic delays, improve goods movement, and increase options for transit, intercity rail, and active transportation. SB 1 increases funding for California’s transportation system by an average of $5.4 billion annually, split between state and local investments.
Prior to the passage of SB 1, California faced a $59 billion shortfall to adequately maintain the existing state highway system in order to keep it in a basic state of good repair. Similarly, cities and counties faced a $78 billion shortfall over the next decade to adequately maintain the existing network of local streets and roads.
As written in the bill, statewide taxes and fees dedicated to the maintenance of the system had not been increased in more than 20 years. Those revenues lost more than 55 percent of their purchasing power — costs to maintain the system had steadily increased, while much of the underlying infrastructure had aged past its expected useful life. Failing to address this growing problem meant that more drastic measures would be required to maintain our system in the future, essentially passing the burden on to future generations.
Transportation funding has historically been impacted by two main factors: inflation and vehicle fuel efficiency. The state gas tax had not been adjusted for inflation since 1994, which significantly reduced its purchasing power. Also, as fuel efficiency increased, California drivers were buying less gas and paying less in gas taxes.
The passage of SB 1 adjusted fuel rates for past inflation and includes future inflation adjustments, solving the inflation issue and delaying any expected transportation funding shortfalls by a decade or more. SB 1 provides needed funding to address this gap while fixing California’s aging infrastructure. SB 1 will repair or replace roads, bridges, culverts, and traffic management systems. SB 1 will also play a major role in reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gases, improving transportation options such as transit, rail and active transportation, while improving safety, goods movement, accessibility, and equity throughout the system.
California’s state-maintained transportation network receives roughly half of SB 1 revenue. The other half goes to local roads, transit agencies and an expansion of the state’s growing network of pedestrian and cycle routes. Each year, this funding is used to tackle deferred maintenance needs both on the state highway system and the local road system, including: