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CA 2025 - Planning California's Infrastructure for the Future

California's growth and changes for 2025 offers planning tips and strategies

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Cool cities with cool roofs and urban forestry There is growing concern that rapid population growth and repeated budget shortfalls have brought California to a state of disrepair that could soon become a state of emergency.

CA 2025 identifies a number of challenges, opportunities, and a few surprises about the future of the state.

On the positive side—and contrary to some common assumptions—the state isn’t going to grow as fast as in the past or as much as expected.

In the last decade, California has actually spent as much per capita on infrastructure as the rest of the nation.

Not only is the economy going to grow, but it is going to continue a shift to industries that put less pressure on water, roads, and energy resources.

"...a continuing decline in the share of manufacturing employment and a steady rise in the share employed in services—particularly business, professional, entertainment, recreation, health, and educational services." There are mechanisms in place for managing ever-increasing demands for education, water, and transportation.
  • The state now relies heavily on borrowing through long-term general obligation bonds. As a result, the portion of general fund revenues devoted to interest and principal payments on debt is approaching levels that jeopardize the state’s remaining debt capacity.

  • For education, although recent state and local bonds have gone a long way toward funding facilities backlogs, the bigger challenge is meeting the operational costs. For higher education, the need for a more skilled workforce makes the potential shortfall in operating budgets critical.

  • California is actually well-positioned to meet the water-supply challenges of growth through options to use existing resources more efficiently and to increase nontraditional supply sources, such as recycling.

  • Public perceptions and attitudes intensify most of the planning challenges because of the role voters have increasingly come to play in passing state and local funding measures and approving governance reforms. Finally, Californians also believe that voters should be making the important decisions for the future at the ballot box, reflecting their deep distrust and lack of confidence in state and local governments’ ability to plan for future growth.

Some of the findings on specific California sectors and issues

  • Population growth and change: By 2025, the state will add 8 to 10 million new residents. Whites will account for a third of the population and Latinos for nearly half. By 2025, almost a third of the population will be foreign-born. The percentage of children won’t change much, but the number of college-age residents will increase dramatically, peaking in 2015. One in seven Californians will be over age 65.

  • Economic growth and demand for education: Employment will reach almost 20 million jobs by 2020, and the economy will continue to shift from manufacturing to service-related industries. Although these industries put less pressure on some infrastructure, they will increase the demand for more-educated workers. The kinds of service-related industries that will grow the most (for example, business, educational, health, and legal) require a highly educated workforce. The percentage of jobs requiring a college degree is expected to rise to 39 percent, but only 33 percent of California workers are projected to have that degree.

  • Education: Despite the need for greater access to higher education, there is a predicted shortfall of higher education space for over 686,000 students by 2013, equal to about a third of current full-time enrollment. The community colleges are expected to have enough bond funds to cover facilities needs for more than a decade. Not so the other branches: UC may have enough funds for seven-to-nine years, and CSU will probably be running out of building funds in less than four years. And despite the increase in bond funds for K-12 and higher education, overall funding will still be a problem for the state because facilities account for only about 10 percent of all expenditures.

  • Water resources: In 2000, California used about 83 million acre-feet (maf) of water for all purposes. By 2030, population growth could increase demand by as much as 3.6 maf. Another 1 maf will be needed for wildlife protection. California must also reduce its use of Colorado river water by 0.8 maf. The study points out, however, that the state has numerous supply and demand management options to meet water demand growth. The state’s biggest water funding challenge is for environmental and ecosystem restoration projects.

  • Transportation: The picture is grimmest for transportation. Congestion will cause travel time in the state to increase by 48 percent by 2025. From 1980 to 2000, highway lane miles driven increased 87 percent but the state added only about six percent to its stock of highway lane miles. From 1965 to 1980, real capital outlay per vehicle-mile traveled declined by 79 percent. California continues to spend less per capita than the rest of the country.

Download the Full Report, or a Short Summary.

Public Policy Institute of California
PPIC is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public policy through objective, nonpartisan research on the economic, social, and political issues that affect Californians. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett.

Public Policy Institute of California
500 Washington Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, California 94111
Telephone: (415) 291-4400
Fax: (415) 291-4401

PPIC Sacramento Center
Senator Office Building
1121 L Street, Suite 801
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: (916) 440-1120
Fax: (916) 440-1121

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| planning | green business | state | urban planning |


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