Most Project Timelines, Budgets Met

Highway Improvement Program Achieves 24 of 25 Delivery Milestones in 2018-19

Photo of a newly-constructed bridge.
A new State Route 49 bridge was completed over the south fork of the American River in El Dorado County.

During the 2018-19 fiscal year, Caltrans chalked up a 96 percent on-time performance rate delivering state highway projects that receive funding from the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). All but one of 25 schedule milestones were met for the projects defined as costing more than $1 million apiece and for which Caltrans is responsible for all development work.

Caltrans, though its Project Delivery division, completed construction on 23 STIP projects on the State Highway System in 2018-19, with total costs approximately $34 million (3 percent) over the original allocation. All overruns were authorized through the change control process approved by the California Transportation Commission (CTC).

Aerial view of a project site along an expressway.
An aerial view shows a new connector road built to link Interstate 80 in Fairfield to State Route 12. The project also reconstructed the I-80/Green Valley Road interchange.

The STIP funds state highway, local road, non-motorized transportation, transit, and intercity rail improvements. The 2020 STIP makes available nearly $2.6 billion over five years for local and state transportation projects. Caltrans’ Division of Local Assistance works with regional planning agencies on applications for STIP transportation funding in those areas, and issues a separate report on project activities.

Caltrans awarded construction contracts for six STIP projects on the State Highway System in 2018-19 valued at $725 million. To get those projects developed, designed and delivered to construction, Caltrans spent $100 million in staff time and expenses. This means that the support dollars needed to deliver those projects was 13.8 percent compared with the capital dollars required for construction. By statute, Caltrans is limited to a ratio of 20 percent or less when comparing the support dollars to deliver projects with the capital dollars required to build them.

An annual status report on the schedule and costs of Caltrans’ capacity-enhancing State Highway System projects must be presented to the governor and Legislature by Nov. 15. The completed 2018-19 report is available online.

During the previous fiscal year, in 2017-18, Caltrans met all eight of its schedule milestones, the actual costs of projects completed were less (by $224 million, or 14 percent) than originally allocated by the CTC, and projects awarded construction achieved the 20-percent support-to-capital ratio goal.

Figure: Table Cost of State Transportation Improvement Program Project Development for Last Three Fiscal Years Fiscal Year 2016-17: Total Support (in thousands) $75,527: Total Capital  (in thousands)$308,232. FY Support to Capital: 24.5%Fiscal Year 2017-18: Total Support (in thousands) $40,044: Total Capital  (in thousands)$240,290. FY Support to Capital: 16.7%Fiscal Year 2018-19: Total Support (in thousands) $99,801: Total Capital  (in thousands)$725,295. FY Support to Capital: 13.8%Total for all Fiscal Years: Total Support (in thousands) $215,372: Total Capital  (in thousands)$1,273,817. FY Support to Capital: 16.9%

The lone milestone that Caltrans did not meet in 2018-19 was the target date of June 17, 2019, for advertising for construction a project in Tuolumne County on State Route 108. The reason given was the inability to secure a utility agreement for relocation of an electrical vault.

Under STIP guidelines, Caltrans is committed toward meeting six categories of schedule milestones for a project: commencement of the environmental process; commencement of the circulation of the draft environmental documents; final approval of the environmental documents; commencement of work on the plans, specifications and estimates; project ready to advertise for construction; and project advertised for construction.

The average support-to-capital ratio for Caltrans’ STIP projects delivered over the last three fiscal years is 16.9 percent.

Project delivery reports on other programs, such as State Highway Operation and Protection Program known as SHOPP, the Department’s main source of highway repair and rehabilitation funds, are provided to the California Transportation Commission and the Legislature.

Source: Fiscal Year 2018-19 Project Delivery Report for the State Transportation Improvement Program.