Inventory of the California Transportation Commission Records

Processed by Lisa DeHope
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
© 2010
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the California Transportation Commission Records

Collection number: R223

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
Lisa DeHope
Date Completed:
July 2010
Encoded by:
Lisa DeHope
© 2010 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: California Transportation Commission Records
Dates: 1978-1990
Collection number: R223
Creator: California Transportation Commission
Collection Size: 41 cubic feet of textual records
Repository: California State Archives
Sacramento, California
Abstract: The California Transportation Commission (CTC) Records consist of 41 cubic feet of textual records, with selected photographs and maps interfiled, reflecting the Commission's study, review, planning, policy development, and funding allocation of California's transportation systems. The records date from 1978-1990 covering the first twelve years of a public agency still functioning today.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives' collections.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], California Transportation Commission Records, R223.[series number], [box and folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

Acquisition and Custodial History

The California State Archives acquired the California Transportation Commission Records according to state law.

Administrative History

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) was created by the 1977 Statutes, operative as of February 1, 1978, to assume the duties and responsibilities of four existing bodies: the California Toll Bridge Authority, State Transportation Board, State Aeronautics Board, and California Highway Commission (Statutes of 1977, Chapter 1106). According to Section 2 of Chapter 1106, the Commission was created for the purposes of simplifying and clarifying the transportation planning and programming process; consolidating the various transportation boards and commissions into a single planning and fund allocation commission; and to increase the responsibility and effectiveness of the Legislature in deciding state transportation policy.
General CTC responsibilities include advising and assisting the Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency and the Legislature in formulating and evaluating State policies and plans for California transportation programs. Specifically CTC is responsible for adopting a State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) including an estimate and allocation of State and Federal funds for transportation projects over a five year period and ranking those projects in keeping with statewide interests; preparing a Biennial Report to the Legislature that evaluates significant transportation issues, making an overview of necessary future investments, and recommending legislative and administrative actions to meet California's emerging transportation problems; and evaluating the proposed budget of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and commenting upon that budget before the California Legislature (Government Code, sections 14520-14536). Statutes of 1981, Chapter 541 (SB215), amended the legislation requiring CTC comment on the Caltrans budget by adding language that required the Commission report to recommend "adjustments of the motor vehicle fuel tax rates and commercial vehicle weight fees necessary to fund the State highway program..." In 1982 further language additions required the budget report to "reflect the Commission's judgment regarding the overall funding levels for each program category and shall not duplicate the item-by-item analysis conducted by the Legislative Analyst." (Statutes of 1982, Chapter 580, SB1376)
The Commission consists of eleven members. Nine members are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, one of whom must be a member of the California Public Utilities Commission (Government. Code, section 14502). The two remaining members participate in Commission activities according to their availability, but are non-voting members appointed as follows: one member of the Senate, appointed by the Senate Rules Committee, and one member of the Assembly, appointed by the Speaker. The nine voting members of the Commission serve four year terms and are then either reappointed or replaced once a successors is appointed and qualified by the Senate (Government. Code, section 14503). Members are to be from varied and balanced geographic backgrounds in order to sufficiently represent the northern, southern, urban, and rural population of the State (Government Code, section 15404). Appointees attend Commission meetings, conduct their research, and prepare reports and presentations without resigning from their current employment responsibilities. (Government Code, section 14509). The Commission elects a chairman and vice chairman from its members who preside at meetings and appoint members to committees after consultation with Commission members (Gov. Codes 15405, 15404.5).
By law, the CTC organizes itself into at least four committees: the Committee on Aeronautics, Committee on Streets and Highways, Committee on Mass Transportation, and the Committee on Planning. The chairman also appoints a Technical Advisory Committee on Aeronautics "based on consultation with the aviation industry, airport operators, pilots, and other aviation interest groups and experts that shall give technical advice to the Committee on Aeronautics regarding issues considered by the Commission" (Gov. Codes 15406, 15406.5). In April 1978, two ad-hoc committees, namely the Review Committee and the Programming Committee, were appointed by Commission Chairman, Norton Simon, in order for Commission members to determine their specific interests and capabilities before establishing membership of the permanent committees as required by law (Norton Simon Correspondence, April 10, 1978 to Commission members). The Review Committee's responsibilities include the screening of all potential agenda items for each Commission meeting in order to determine which items will not be considered by the full Commission using a "Consent Calendar" basis thereby allowing the Commission to focus on only those items of the greatest importance and urgency. "In other words, this committee concerns itself with agenda content and provides a method to deal with appropriate access to its recommendations. The programming committee evaluates and integrates existing programming documents from predecessor Commissions, input from the Legislative and Executive branches, Caltrans and others, and develop these documents into a coherent set of documents as required by law."
The Commission established a policy direction for transportation which emphasizes protection and preservation of the existing system through adequate maintenance and rehabilitation; safety and other operating improvements; fulfillment of existing commitments; capturing all available Federal funds; and a reasonable balance between new highway and transit improvements (Biennial Report II, Draft February 26, 1981, "Stabilizing Transportation Financing in California"). Since 1987, the CTC's mission as an independent public agency reflected their efforts to enhance the economic, social and environmental welfare of all California citizens by providing for a comprehensive multimodal State Transportation System which is consistent and compatible with the orderly economic and social progress of the State.
As of 2010, the Commission was still in existence but with thirteen members (Statutes of 2007, Chapter 717, AB1672). The May 2010 mission statement for the CTC identifies the Commission as dedicated to ensuring a safe, financially sustainable, world-class multimodal transportation system that reduces congestion, improves the environment, and facilitates economic development through the efficient movement of people and goods. The Commission is responsible for the programming and allocating of funds for the construction of highway, passenger rail and transit improvements throughout California (, accessed on July 19, 2010).

Scope and Content

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) Records consist of 41 cubic feet of textual records, with selected photographs and maps interfiled, reflecting the Commission's study, review, planning, policy development, and funding allocation of California's transportation systems. The records date from 1978-1990 covering the first twelve years of a public agency still functioning today. The records are organized into one series: Commission Meeting Files.
The records of this agency are useful in tracing the development and growth of California's transportation system and the overarching transportation goals of the State. As the oversight agency with the delegated responsibility of reviewing and allocating both State and Federal funds for transportation in California, the CTC is significantly influential in the direction and progress of highways, transit and commuter rails. The background material and presentation transcripts reflect the concerns and interests of local citizens and agencies in the development and construction of various modes of mass transportation and their routes.
The Commission records reflect the prominence of transportation in California's governance. Topics frequently reviewed in the CTC meeting files include route rescission and adoption, and the preparation and review of the Biennial Report and the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) while demonstrating concern for the environmental and social impact of transportation projects. Major projects include Highways 101 and 99, and Interstates 5, 80, and 680.
When researching the history of transportation in California the reports, minutes and corresponding materials provide insight about projects and priorities within the Commission itself. The state's growth of population, increase in transportation by automobile and public transit are all represented directly and indirectly in statistical reports and project proposals which were reviewed by the Commission in their efforts to prioritize projects and review the transportation budget. The Commission's far reaching responsibilities within mass transportation programs, aeronautics programs, and highway programs requires the CTC to work closely with others agencies and organizations outside of the Department of Transportation to ensure they are an effective, efficient, informed and balanced body. Such organizations include the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), a public agency created in 1971 for the purpose of regional transportation planning and coordination in the nine Bay Area Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), concerned with the maintenance and coordination of demographic projects, the integrated land use, housing, employment, transportation programs, measures, as well as various other environmental concerns (,, accessed July 19, 2010).

Related Collections at the California State Archives

California Highway Commission Records
California Toll Bridge Authority Records
State Transportation Board Records
State Aeronautics Board Records
Business and Transportation Agency - Office of Transportation Planning and Research Records
Department of Transportation - Aeronautics Program Records
Department of Public Works - Division of Highways Records

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
California Transportation Commission
California. Dept. of Transportation
Transportation Planning

Series Descriptions

R223.01, Box 1, folder 1 - Box 41, folder 17

Series 1 Commission Meeting Files 1978-1990

Physical Description: 41 cubic feet


Arranged chronologically by meeting date.

Scope and Content Note

Commission Meeting Files contain the minutes, agendas, and background materials used by the Commissioners in the preparation and conduct of their monthly meetings. CTC meetings are held in various cities in California chosen for their population density or their proximity to specific projects under review by the Commission. Commissioners usually arrive for a two day meeting schedule including a tour, meetings of committees, and informal gatherings with local transportation agencies and organizations.
This series includes background materials such as correspondence, reports, memoranda, statistical data, news clippings, new releases, as well as maps and photographs of proposed projects. These and other related materials were frequently mailed out to Commissioners before each meeting by the Executive Director with supplemental information available at the meeting. At the end of each meeting file are the original resolutions passed by the commission often accompanied by a transcripts of a part or the whole meeting. Detailed meeting minutes are available for each meeting and the agenda allots time each month for the Commission to approve or adjust the previous month's minutes. Also included within the meeting files are files from additional workshops and special meetings held to discuss an urgent project or an emergency transportation issue such as those arising after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. These workshops and special meetings were typically conducted in conjunction with the Commission's monthly meeting schedule, held either the day before or morning of the scheduled monthly meeting. Specific projects or broad transportation issues within California that required supplemental or more comprehensive attention were reviewed by the Commission in workshops in order to succinctly address the issue at the monthly meeting. Workshops frequently focused on either Federal funding and the effects shortages had on the transportation budget or issues associated with the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) such as the highway landscaping program. Other special meetings focused on broad transportation concerns such as San Francisco peninsular transit issues or Los Angeles County transit issues.
Copious files were maintained by the Commission relating to the preparation and review of the STIP. Hearings in both northern and southern California were held by the Commission before submitting their final report to the Legislature. The meeting files contain both draft and final copies of the STIPs and presentations made by and before the Commission at said hearings.