For Immediate Release: 10/9/23
Contact: Jared Sanchez, CalBike (714) 262-0921, Jared@CalBike.org
Gov. Newsom Signs Caltrans Freeway Data Bill into Law
SACRAMENTO – Governor Newsom has signed SB 695 (Gonzalez) into law. This bill, supported by CalBike, will increase data transparency by adding requirements to the CA Vehicle Code that Caltrans must prepare and make available information and data about activities on the state highway system on a public website.
Specifically, SB 695 will require Caltrans, beginning January 1, 2026, to annually prepare and make available on its internet website information and data about projects on the state highway system from the prior fiscal year, as specified, and to present this information and data to the California Transportation Commission at a regularly scheduled commission meeting on or before April 1 of each year.
Public oversight of Caltrans projects is crucial for Californians. Caltrans has a history of ignoring the wishes of state legislators and the public. The recent firing of Caltrans deputy director Jeanie Ward-Waller as she was preparing to make a whistleblower complaint shows that SB 695 is a necessary step to reigning in a rogue agency.
“Recent staffing controversies have shown Caltrans’ resistance to adapting California transportation to address the climate crisis,” said Jared Sanchez, policy director of CalBike. “This new public data portal will help Californians understand where our money is going and enable the public oversight needed to help the old Department of Highways become the modern transportation agency California needs.”
Data to be required on the Caltrans Freeway Data portal:
- Total lane miles in the state highway system.
- New total lane miles added to the state highway system.
- Breakdown of the number of miles added by type, including, but not limited to, general purpose lanes, auxiliary lanes, managed lanes, including high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and interchanges, as well as information on improvements to interchanges.
- A project description of each project that added lane miles to the state highway system.
- The number of miles of the state highway system that were relinquished.
- The number of miles of the state highway system that were converted from a general purpose lane to a managed lane, including a high-occupancy vehicle lane, and a high-occupancy vehicle lane to a high-occupancy toll lane or other type of lane.
- The number of homes and businesses that were relocated due to the acquisition of rights-of-way for the new lane miles on the state highway system.
- The number of new bike lane miles added to state highways, broken down by Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV.
- The number of new sidewalk miles added to state highways and the number of existing sidewalks that were reconstructed to improve accessibility and the safety of pedestrians.