(a) Based on the asset management plan prepared and approved pursuant to Section 14526.4, the department shall prepare a state highway operation and protection program for the expenditure of transportation funds for major capital improvements that are necessary to preserve and protect the state highway system. Projects included in the program shall be limited to capital improvements relative to
maintenance, safety, and rehabilitation of state highways and bridges that do not add a new traffic lane to the system.
(b) The program shall include projects that are expected to be advertised prior to July 1 of the year following submission of the program, but which have not yet been funded. The program shall include those projects for which construction is to begin within four fiscal years, starting July 1 of the year following the year the program is submitted.
(c) The department, at a minimum, shall specify, for each project in the state highway operation and protection program, the capital and support budget, as well as a projected delivery date, for each of the following project components:
(1) Completion of project approval and environmental documents.
(2) Preparation of plans, specifications, and estimates.
(3) Acquisition of rights-of-way, including, but not limited to, support activities.
(4) Start of construction.
(d) The program shall be submitted to the commission not later than January 31 of each even-numbered year. Prior to submitting the plan, the department shall make a draft of its proposed program available to transportation planning agencies for review and comment and shall include the comments in its submittal to the commission.
(e) The commission may review the program relative to its overall adequacy, consistency with the asset management plan prepared and approved pursuant to Section 14526.4 and funding priorities established
in Section 167 of the Streets and Highways Code, the level of annual funding needed to implement the program, and the impact of those expenditures on the state transportation improvement program. The commission shall adopt the program and submit it to the Legislature and the Governor not later than April 1 of each even-numbered year. The commission may decline to adopt the program if the commission determines that the program is not sufficiently consistent with the asset management plan prepared and approved pursuant to Section 14526.4.
(f) Expenditures for these projects shall not be subject to Sections 188 and 188.8 of the Streets and Highways Code.