Caltrans Director: Agency is Delivering on SB 1’s ‘Rebuilding California’ Promise

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Caltrans’ mission is ‘to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.’ And the timing of its latest Mile Marker Performance Report [link to: http://www.dot.ca.gov/milemarker/docs/MM-2019-Winter.pdf ] gave Caltrans Director Laurie Berman the opportunity to reflect on how well the agency is living up to its mission thanks to the help of SB 1—California’s landmark transportation funding law.

The following is an excerpt from Berman’s message in the Winter 2019 Mile Marker:

It’s been a little more than a year since Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) allowed Caltrans and other agencies to begin working on a long pipeline of projects to turn around a road network in crisis.

Although a year is a very short time in which to judge the effectiveness of a program, I think that we are indeed delivering on SB 1’s ‘Rebuilding California’ promise. We have been hard at work since the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 was passed, starting and finishing numerous projects that were originally planned for years down the line.

As another construction season nears, Caltrans has completed more than 50 highway projects, awarded or begun construction on about 100, and has started work on nearly 400 more being wholly or partially funded by SB 1 dollars.

That’s just for work connected to the State Highway System. We’re seeing the same level of commitment from local governments and transportation agencies that receive about half the total revenues generated by SB 1, as they upgrade their road and transit systems.

The flurry of activity is only a start. The California Transportation Commission and our partner agencies have recently added more than 100 projects to the SB 1 master construction list.

Not only has Caltrans embarked on an ambitious repair and rehabilitation schedule, we’re also becoming more efficient—and saving millions. SB 1 requires that we find ways to slash operational costs by at least $100 million a year, and reinvest that money back into highway repair and rehabilitation. Caltrans didn’t just meet that target in SB 1’s first year, but exceeded it by an impressive amount. According to our Annual Efficiency Report, recently presented to the CTC, we achieved $133 million in savings through a variety of methods.

SB 1 will be a major economic boost to the state of California for the foreseeable future. The transportation improvements and repairs undertaken by Caltrans and other agencies are creating jobs and investing in our communities’ well being. Every $1 billion spent on infrastructure projects creates more than 13,000 jobs, according to the federal government. With SB 1 projected to raise $54 billion for transportation purposes over the next decade, that translates to a lot of Californians working in high-paying jobs.

Source:  Caltrans

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