The 2016-17 Budget

California Spending Plan


The spending plan provides $15.5 billion from various fund sources for transportation programs. As shown in Figure 33, this is a decrease of $423 million, or 3 percent, when compared to the revised level of spending in 2015–16. The reduced spending is due primarily to a reduction in funding available for highway capital projects in the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

Figure 33

Transportation Program Expenditures

Various Funds (Dollars in Millions)





Change From 2015–16



Department of Transportation






California Highway Patrol






High–Speed Rail Authority






Department of Motor Vehicles






State Transit Assistance






Transit Capital (Proposition 1B)






Other transportation programsa












aIncludes California State Transportation Agency, California Transportation Commission, and Board of Pilot Commissioners.

Vehicle Registration Fee Increase. The budget package, as revised in August 2016, includes trailer legislation to (1) increase the base vehicle registration fee by $10 (from $46 to $56) beginning April 1, 2017 and (2) index the fee to the California Consumer Price Index, allowing the fee to automatically increase with inflation. Revenue from the vehicle registration fee is primarily deposited into the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA) to support the state’s activities to administer and enforce laws regulating the operation and registration of vehicles used on public streets and highways.

No Funding Package Approved to Increase Transportation Funding. As part of the special legislative session on transportation, the Governor proposed a package of proposals to increase funding for transportation projects. These were generally reflected in the Governor’s January budget proposal for 2016–17. In adopting the budget package, the Legislature did not approve the Governor’s proposals or other proposals to increase transportation funding.

Cap–and–Trade Funding. As discussed earlier in this report, the budget, as revised in August 2016, also includes $135 million in cap–and–trade discretionary spending for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program and $10 million for the Active Transportation Program.


The budget plan includes total expenditures of $9.7 billion from various fund sources for Caltrans, a decrease of $1.2 billion (or 11 percent) from the 2015–16 level of expenditures. The decrease reflects (1) a reduction in available federal transportation funds and (2) the completion of most Proposition 1B (2006) projects administered by Caltrans. The budget provides roughly $2.9 billion for transportation capital outlay, $2.2 billion for local assistance, $1.8 billion for capital outlay support, and $1.6 billion for highway maintenance. The balance of the funding supports mass transportation and rail programs, transportation planning, and other programs.

Capital Outlay Support Program. The budget includes $1.8 billion and 9,512 full–time equivalent (FTE) staff to deliver highway capital outlay projects—a decrease of 191 FTEs from the 2015–16 level through attrition. The savings from the reduced FTEs are more than offset by an increase in funding to “true up” funding levels with actual staff costs, resulting in a net increase of $9 million from 2015–16.

Federal Bridge Load Rating. The budget provides $4.6 million in federal funds to help Caltrans determine bridge “load ratings”—a rating that specifies how much traffic a bridge can safely carry. Specifically, the funding will continue 26 limited–term positions as permanent positions and support various software improvements. The Federal Highway Administration requires Caltrans to develop load ratings on all state and local bridges in California. The budget also requires Caltrans to report to the Legislature by March 1, 2017 on its efforts to complete bridge load ratings.

High–Speed Rail Authority (HSRA)

The budget plan includes total expenditures of $1.7 billion for HSRA, roughly $1 billion above the level of expenditures in 2015–16. The increase primarily reflects the shifting of some HSRA workload and expenditures initially assumed to occur in 2015–16. The total expenditures include $1.2 billion in proceeds of bonds authorized by Proposition 1A (2008), as well as $32 million in federal funds. The budget plan also assumes that $500 million in cap–and–trade auction revenues will be continuously appropriated to the project in 2016–17.

California Highway Patrol (CHP)

The budget provides $2.3 billion to fund CHP operations, about the same amount as in 2015–16. Nearly all of this funding is from the MVA, which derives the majority of its revenue from vehicle registration fees and driver license fees. The budget includes $30 million for site acquisition and preliminary plans for four CHP area office replacement projects (Hayward, El Centro, Ventura, and San Bernardino), as part of the administration’s ongoing plan to replace deficient CHP area offices.

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

The budget provides $1.1 billion for DMV operations, about the same amount as in 2015–16. Nearly all of this funding is from the MVA.

Field Office Replacement Projects. The budget includes $5.6 million for various phases of four DMV field office replacement projects. Of this amount, $4.3 million is for the design phase of three DMV office replacement projects (Inglewood, Santa Maria, and Delano) approved by the Legislature in 2015–16. The remaining $1.3 million is for preliminary plans to initiate a fourth DMV field office replacement project in San Diego.

Self–Service Terminals. The budget includes an ongoing increase of $8 million for DMV to expand the use of self–service terminals, which allow DMV customers to process their vehicle registration renewal transactions at automated kiosks. Specifically, the DMV plans to place between 30 and 50 new terminals in businesses around the state (such as grocery stores or convenience stores), in order to provide greater access to DMV services. The budget package also requires DMV to report to the Legislature on the outcomes of expanding the number of terminals as well as the department’s long–term plan for the use of self–service terminals.