The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1) provides the California Department of Transportation with an ongoing funding increase of approximately $1.8 billion annually for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the state highway system. The agency reports that SB 1 funds will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts by 2027.
SB 1 has already allowed Caltrans to complete many significant projects throughout Southern California. As some projects complete, others are currently under construction, and critical new projects are continually breaking ground.
Due to SB 1 funding, Caltrans recently completed a $7.8 million maintenance repair project on more than 46 lane miles of State Route 57 in Orange County through the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, Placentia and Orange. Caltrans repaired and replaced decades-old broken concrete slabs that dated back to the 1970s and resurfaced concrete pavement along the highway for better traction and a smoother ride. Every day, nearly a quarter of a million vehicles travel on SR-57, which connects Orange County with Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire. It is a major freight corridor critical to the movement of goods throughout Southern California.
In Riverside County, Caltrans has begun work to replace and repair 149 lane miles on Interstate 10, and State Routes 111 and 86 due to $17 million in funding from SB 1. The repair project will fill potholes to increase ride quality, and repave and resurface the roads to extend their lifecycle. Of the 105,000 vehicles that use I-10 daily, nearly one-fifth of them are carrying freight, the weight of which contributes to rapid road surface deterioration. “Repairing these highways will improve freight movement and operational efficiency,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman.
Also this week, Caltrans began repairs on 71 lane miles of State Route 78 in San Diego County. The $11 million project, paid for with SB 1 funds, will bring improvements to Ramona, Escondido and Julian. The project includes removing the top layers of old pavement and applying an overlay of high quality rubberized asphalt that will add durability to the roadway and create a smoother ride for motorists, reported Caltrans.
Several critical SB 1 highway and bridge repair projects are underway in Los Angeles County, including: a $136 million pavement preservation project to improve 104 lane miles on Interstate 605 in Los Angeles to the Orange County line; a $505 million bridge project along Interstate 5 in Glendale that will replace 10 bridges or lower roadway to meet vertical clearance and truck load capacity standards; and a $56 million bridge project to improve vertical clearance for trucks that will in turn improve freight movement on State Route 60 in Los Angeles County.
All of these Southern California infrastructure projects are made possible due to SB 1 funding, yet a new measure aimed at repealing SB 1 will appear on the ballot this fall as Proposition 6. Prop 6 would eliminate funding for more than 6,500 vitally-needed transportation improvement projects currently underway to make road safety improvements, ease traffic congestion, fix potholes, upgrade bridges and overpasses, and improve public transportation in every California community.
The California Chamber of Commerce has joined the campaign against the repeal measure. The business community has always been supportive of what it considers “necessary infrastructure investment,” said Allan Zaremberg, president of CalChamber.
“The roads are pretty miserable here in California. They’ve been neglected for quite some time,” Zaremberg said, pointing out that nearly every aspect of the California economy relies on having usable roads: the transfer of goods from busy ports and warehouses to retailers, emerging sectors like on-demand rides and food delivery, and even tourists driving to San Francisco or Disneyland. “We have to have a transportation system that allows us to sustain those jobs,” he said.
Southern California Partnership for Jobs supports infrastructure investment. We advocated for the passage of SB 1, a new transportation funding source that is becoming ever more critical for California. We oppose any efforts to repeal SB 1 that would rob our communities of vital road safety and transportation improvement funds.
Vote No on Prop 6: Stop the Attack on Bridge and Road Safety.