• Early Role of Government

    Early Role of Government

    “I will heartily join with you in recommending to the Legislature action that will result in the State having good roads that will be the pride of the State.”
    -Governor James Budd
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In 1895, three years before the first car in California, Governor James Budd appointed board members to the newly established State Bureau of Highways. They acquired the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road and made it the first State Highway. From this humble start, California's network of roads grew to over 175 thousand miles — equivalent to a trip around the world seven times.

From 1909 to 1919, $73 million in bonds were raised for a road system. Measures with similar aims followed in 1913, with the first vehicle registration and licensing fees, and in 1923, with the first gas tax of one cent. The State Legislature addressed the need for uniform vehicle registration and driver's licenses, previously legislated by counties and cities.