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Despite “Farcical” Caltrans Cost Estimate, Complete Streets Bill Moves to Suspense File, as Expected – Streetsblog California


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“I agree that Caltrans has embarrassed itself with the [cost] projection it has given us on [the Complete Streets bill],” Assembly Appropriations Chair Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) told Senator Scott Wiener as he prepared to address the committee this morning.

S.B. 127, she added, is “a bill that I love. Please don’t talk yourself out of it.”

No chance of that. Senator Wiener kept it short: Caltrans, he said, should be embarrassed about the cost estimate it provided to the committee. “This bill simply asks that when Caltrans is working on state highways, they should be ensuring that people who walk and bike on them are safe… It does not create new projects, it simply requires that if they are already working on a road project, they consult the community and consider all users.”

About that cost estimate–Caltrans claimed the bill could cost as much as $450 million per mile, or up to $1 BILLION per year–Senator Wiener offered a different number. After consulting people who work on road projects throughout the state, he said, “we know these projects cost closer to $20,000, ranging to at the highest $600,000 per mile.”

The Caltrans estimate is “farcical,” he said.

Supporters who spoke in favor of S.B. 127 included the American Heart Association, the city of Santa Monica, San Francisco’s Muni transit agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Safe Sacramento, and AARP.

A representative from the Department of Finance, which attacked the bill on policy issues, stated simply that the department opposed the bill.

“I figured,” said Chair Gonzalez.

The bill was moved to the “suspense file,” as expected, where it will await its fate with all the other bills that have a potential fiscal impact of over $150K. The committee considered over ninety bills this morning, most of which ended up “on suspense.” The committee has until August 30 to move them to the floor of the Assembly.

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