Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



February 11, 2011


March 1, 2011







Honorable Board of Supervisors


James C. Porter, Director of Public Works


Executive Summary: California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment and Comprehensive Fix to the Transportation Tax Swap



Adopt a Resolution:



Supporting the findings of the comprehensive statewide study entitled, “California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment” dated February 2011; and



Authorizing the President of the Board of Supervisors to send a letter to each State Legislator involved with transportation policies and budget making decisions, urging the Legislature to enact a comprehensive fix to the transportation tax swap.



On January 26, 2010 your Board adopted Resolution No. 070594, supporting the first comprehensive statewide study of California’s local street and road system, and authorizing support for stable funding for local streets and roads. The 2009 report has been updated and a new report was issued in February 2011.


On February 8, 2011 your Board approved the 2011 State Legislative Session Program for San Mateo County, which includes supporting the reenactment of the March 2010 transportation gas tax swap by the State Legislature.



California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment

The objectives for the study were to assess the condition of the local system, complete the overall transportation funding picture for California’s transportation network, and educate the public and policymakers about the infrastructure investments needed to provide California with a seamless transportation system.


The study underscores the need for adequate funding for the State’s local streets and roads. According to the study, an additional $56.3 Billion of funding over the next ten years is needed to achieve a statewide pavement condition index (PCI) of 80, which is considered a Best Management Practice (BMP). At these BMP levels, less expensive preventative maintenance treatments, such as slurry seals and chip seals would be recommended to keep the roads in good condition.


Support for a Comprehensive Fix to the Transportation Tax Swap

In March of 2010 a historic transportation tax swap resulted in the elimination of the sales tax on gasoline and an increase in the gasoline excise tax equal to the amount of the eliminated sales tax. In November 2010, State voters approved Proposition 26, the “Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act”. Proposition 26 requires a two-thirds supermajority vote in the California State Legislature to pass new fees, levies, charges and taxes, retroactive to January 1, 2010. As a result, the gasoline excise tax increases were nullified because the March 2010 tax swap was approved by a simple majority vote, however the elimination of gasoline sales tax remained in effect because it was a reduction in taxes. This translates into a loss of $5 Million to $6 Million to the County’s Road Fund, or approximately one-third of our transportation funds.


The Governor’s budget proposes a plan to reenact the March 2010 transportation tax swap by having the Legislature approve the tax swap with a two-thirds supermajority vote and approve the transfer of truck weight fees. These actions are consistent with the transportation tax swap and would provide the State nearly $1 Billion in general fund relief in FY 2011-12 and similar amounts into the future.


The Department is in agreement with the findings in the study, and recommends your support of the findings of the study. A complete copy of the study can be obtained at: The County has been working closely with CSAC and the League of California Cities and supports sending a letter to each State Legislator involved with transportation budget making decisions, urging the enactment of a comprehensive fix to the transportation tax swap. A letter is attached for the Board’s consideration. The Department recommends that your Board support this action.


County Counsel has reviewed and approved the Resolution as to form.


Support of the study and authorizing a letter of support for a comprehensive fix to the transportation tax swap contributes to the Shared Vision 2025 outcome of a Collaborative Community, and demonstrates the County’s support of an alliance with the other counties and cities for preservation of the State’s local streets and roads.



There is minimal impact to the General Fund for supporting the study due to staff time necessary to finalize the letter to the State Legislators.



Letter to State Legislators