While that is a $700 million increase from last year, state transportation officials had expected an additional $1.3 billion from a special gas tax fund, known as spillover. Spillover money is generated when gas prices rise faster than inflation. It was created in 1971 to provide money for the state to pay for public transit projects. This year, the windfall was siphoned off to help wipe out the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit. What it means for Los Angeles County is that regional transportation officials will be out about $336 million – its share of the $1.3 billion spillover. Without the $336 million, Metro officials said some transportation projects planned for the county are now in jeopardy, including widening the Golden State Freeway at the Orange County Line, bus operations and the Exposition Light Rail project – an 8.5-mile route to run from downtown to Culver City that’s already under construction. The budget adopted by state lawmakers this week yanks $1.3 billion from California’s public transit pot, forcing officials to consider fare hikes, service cuts and project delays to make up the gap, transportation advocacy groups said. The decision essentially eliminates 40 percent of the money transportation officials thought they would have to spend this year. It takes money from projects to widen roads, develop rail systems and expand bus fleets to meet the needs of the state’s 33.8 million residents and prepare for the 26 million more forecast to be living here by 2050. “This budget will mean more single-passenger cars on the road,” said Emily Rusch, transportation advocate with the California Public Interest Research Group. “We need more transit, not less, to keep our cities moving.” The $145 billion budget expected to be signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week will give $1.9 billion to public transit, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance. To fill the holes, transit officials may lean on public investment bonds that voters approved last November, including Proposition 1B, a $20 billion bond for transportation projects to relieve congestion, improve the movement of goods and air quality. “They’re basically saying to us that since you got Prop. 1B money, you can use that money instead,” said Michael Turner, Metro government relations manager. “We have to use the money from the transportation bond to backfill the holes created by the state.” Meanwhile about $455 million worth of bike paths, street repairs, signal synchronization, bus improvements and other county transit projects can now be considered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is responsible for allocating federal, state and local transportation money. The board last month postponed these recommendations until September as they waited for lawmakers to agree on the state budget. Tuesday’s budget agreement arrived 51 days past its June 30 due date. Projects include a grade separation in Palmdale for a railroad crossing along Rancho Vista Boulevard and Sierra Highway; widening the westbound Ronald Reagan Freeway off-ramp at Tampa Avenue; building a bike path along the Pacoima Wash and improving pedestrian walkways in downtown San Fernando. [email protected] (818) 713-3746160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!