Transportation of California
California's transportation system is dynamic and usually functional, however, in a state with over 30 million people, rapid population expansion, and often difficult terrain and weather, that system is under pressure to stay ahead of population growth and transportation needs.
Interstates and highways
California is known for its
car culture, and its residents typically take to the roads for their commutes, errands, and vacations, giving California's cities a reputation for severe traffic congestion.
California's vast terrain is connected by an extensive system of
freeways, expressways, and highways, all maintained by Caltransand patrolled by the California Highway Patrol, except for the numbered expressways in Santa Clara County which were built and maintained by the county itself. The main north-south arteries are U.S. Route 101, which runs close to the coast from the state's border with Oregon, across the Golden Gate Bridge, to downtown Los Angeles, and Interstate 5, which runs inland from the Oregon to Mexicoborders, bisecting the entire state. In addition, a major north-south artery is State Highway 99, which runs from near Red Bluff to near Bakersfield; Highway 99 is largely parallel to Interstate 5, and connects the Central Valley cities not connected by Interstate 5. Almost all California highways are non-toll roads; however, there are a few toll roads, and most major bridges have toll plazas.
Perhaps it is a testament to California's sheer size that although it has one of the most extensive freeway systems in the United States, it contains many of the largest cities in the United States not served by an
Interstate Highway, including the two largest, Fresno (pop. 471,479) and Bakersfield (pop. 247,057). [ [http://www.interstate-guide.com/future.html Future Interstates and Potential Interstate Corridors @ Interstate-Guide.com ] ] These cities, along with Modesto and Visalia, are passed by as Interstate 5 veers west to avoid the congestion of the populated eastern side of the Central Valley as it connects Sacramentoand Los Angeles. [ [http://www.publicpurpose.com/pp-is2000.htm Interstate 2000: Improvement for the Next Millenium (sic) ] ]
The state's most famous highway bridge is the
Golden Gate Bridge, though there are major bridges elsewhere at Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Los Angeles International Airportand San Francisco International Airportare major hubs for trans-Pacific and transcontinental traffic. There are about a dozen important commercial airports and many more general aviationairports throughout the state's 58 counties.
eaports and harbors
California also has several important
seaports. The giant seaport complex formed by the Port of Los Angelesand the Port of Long Beach in Southern California is the largest in the country and responsible for handling about a fourth of all container cargo traffic in the United States. The Port of Oaklandhandles most of the ocean containers passing through Northern California. The Port of Redwood Cityis a world-ranked port and the only deepwater port in South San Francisco Bay.
Rail and bus travel
Intercity rail travel is provided by
Amtrak California, which manages the three busiest intercity rail lines in the US outside the Northeast Corridor. Integrated subway and light railnetworks are found in Los Angeles (Metro Rail) and San Francisco (BART and MUNI Metro). Light rail systems are also found in San Jose (VTA), San Diego ( San Diego Trolley), Sacramento (RT Light Rail), and Northern San Diego County (Sprinter). Furthermore, commuter railnetworks serve the San Francisco Bay Area (ACE), Greater Los Angeles (Metrolink), and San Diego County (Coaster). Nearly all counties operate buslines, and many cities operate their own bus lines as well. Intercity bus travel is provided by Greyhound, Amtrak Thruway Coach, Xe Đò Hoàng Transportation [http://www.xedohoang.com/english.html] , and California Shuttle Bus [http://www.cashuttlebus.com/] .
The rapidly growing population of the state is straining all of its transportation networks.Fact|date=July 2008 A regularly recurring issue in California politics is whether the state should continue to aggressively expand its freeway network or concentrate on improving mass transit networks in urban areas.
California High Speed RailAuthority was created in 1996 by the state to implement an extensive 700 mile (1127 km) rail system. Construction is pending approval of the voters during the November 2008 general election, in which a $9 billion state bond would have to be approved. If built, the system would provide a TGV-style high-speed link between the state's four major cities, and would allow travel between Los Angeles' Union Station and the San Francisco Transbay Terminalin two and one half hours.
List of state highways in California
Plug-in hybrids in California
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