The California Department of Transportation said it would launch 32 major infrastructure repair projects a year earlier than planned, after the state's Transportation Commission authorized the agency to
tap $690 million in "anticipated funding" that will come under the Legislature's recent funding package.
Projects the commission authorized Aug. 17 come on the heels of more than $285 million in accelerated highway repair projects, which the department said in July that it could work on under the new funding law.
That 10-year, $52.4 billion transportation measure known as SB 1 will generate extra revenue through hikes in motor vehicle fuel taxes and vehicle license fees, with the first increases at the pump coming in November.
Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said: "The needs in California are great and we are not waiting for the funding to come in. The time to get to work is now and we are lining up the projects. SB 1 is a game-changing investment for transportation in California and Caltrans is already putting that money to work across the state."
The 32 projects are part of a "fix-it-first" list of repairs to existing infrastructure that Caltrans submitted to the commission for its August meeting.
These projects will fix pavement on highways across the state, fix and replace deficient bridges, and install traffic management systems to help manage roadway traffic and reduce congestion.
Caltrans said SB 1 provides an ongoing funding increase of about $1.8 billion annually for maintenance and rehabilitation of the state highway system, including $400 million specifically for bridges and culverts. That law, it added, will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges and 55,000 culverts by 2027.
Caltrans will also fix 7,700 traffic operating systems, like ramp meters, traffic cameras and electric highway message boards that help reduce highway congestion. "When this work is finished," it said, "98 percent of pavement on state facilities will be in good or fair condition, up from 85 percent today."
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