On a traffic basis, California spends the least on roads

Published: Friday, Jul. 5, 2013 - 8:07 am

Re "Hefty fuel taxes buy poor roads" (Dan Walters, July 3): Dan Walters reports that California spends more "per mile" of state highways than other states.

I believe the calculation he cites simply divides the taxes by linear mile of state highway. This makes states like Texas, which include what are county roads in this state in their state highway system, look efficient. In California, less than 20 percent of that network is included in the State Highway System, even though it receives 80 percent of the traffic. A better comparison may be dollars per "lane-mile" or dollars per vehicle miles traveled per day. On a traffic basis, California may actually spend the least.

Walters also notes "a huge transportation bureaucracy -- about 20,000 bodies". However most of that number is actually maintenance workers and engineers and associated staff doing project delivery -- not really "bureaucrats".

Walters is certainly correct that our road systems are in jeopardy.

-- Jay Norvell, Davis

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