NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

PPIC Report on California's future - slower growth

Public Policy Institute of California : CA2025

Some of the findings on specific sectors and issues, from the Sac Business Journal:

Population growth and change: By 2025, the state will add 8 million 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 better-educated workers. 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 more than 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: University of California may have enough funds for seven to nine years, and California State University 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 of water for all purposes. By 2030, population growth could increase demand by as much as 3.6 million acre-feet. Another 1 million acre-feet will be needed for wildlife protection. California must also reduce its use of Colorado river water by 0.8 million acre-feet. 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 6 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.

Thanks to Mary Mahoney, State Labor Market Consultant, for the heads up to this study and link to Sac Bus Journal.

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