Report 2007-106 Highlights - September 2007

Grade Separation Program:

An Unchanged Budget and Project Allocation Levels Established More Than 30 Years Ago May Discourage Local Agencies From Taking Advantage of the Program


Our review of the Grade Separation Program found that:

  • Although the average cost of a grade separation project has increased from $2.5 million in 1974 to a current average of just more than $26 million, the annual funding of $15 million available for the Grade Separation Program has not changed since 1974.
  • Local agencies say they are experiencing difficulties securing the funding necessary to pay for their share of grade separation projects; thus, some are not nominating new projects to be included on the Public Utilities Commission's (Commission) priority list and many are not applying for funds for the projects already on the priority list.
  • A report prepared by the Commission in March 2007 showed that $165 million is needed to provide funding for the same number of grade separation projects that $15 million provided in 1974.
  • Additional funding will be available for grade separation projects from a bond measure approved by California voters in November 2006, which will provide a one-time amount of $250 million to improve railroad crossing safety.
  • The California Department of Transportation does not always comply with state regulations when allocating supplemental funds to projects for which the final costs exceed the preliminary cost estimates.

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