New at CA Bonds Won’t Reduce Traffic

In today’s Los Angeles Daily News, Reason’s George Passantino writes that California’s massive new bond measure won’t reduce congestion or produce the results that taxpayers envision:

“Unfortunately, less than half of the bond money will be spent across the state on our highways, with only about $4.5 billion for congestion relief on the busiest freeways. Meanwhile, nearly the same amount, $4 billion in bonds, will be spent on light rail, buses and other mass-transit options, even though nearly 88 percent of us drive our cars. The problem is that lawmakers are borrowing the funds, but they don’t have to pay them back – that will be the responsibility of future generations. Yet if they were forced to spend general-fund money where it is needed most – and where it will provide the highest value of return – they would spend virtually all of it on roads and highways, not light rail. And even better, they might ask private companies to spend their money on roads and highways, too. Many other states are busy significantly upgrading their transportation systems with billions of dollars from private companies, not taxpayers.”

Full Column Here Robert Poole: The Congestion Paradigm Begins to Crack Study: Easing California’s Transportation Crisis with Tolls and Public-Private Partnerships (.pdf) Study: Should States Sell Their Toll Roads? (.pdf) Reason’s Transportation Research and Commentary