Commission Allocates $924 Million for California Infrastructure Projects

Traffic on I-5 in Sacramento
Traffic flows along Interstate 5 in Sacramento, Calif. (Roadway Wiz via YouTube)

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The California Transportation Commission allocated $924 million for critical infrastructure projects at its most recent meeting.

The independent public agency is in charge of allocating state and federal transportation funds for highway, rail, transit and aeronautic purposes.

“[The California Department of Transportation] is building a brighter future through a transportation network that serves all Californians,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “This significant investment will help us fortify and enhance our state’s vast network of highways, bridges, transit facilities, bikeways and pedestrian routes.”



Nearly half of the investment, $458 million, was supported by Senate Bill 1, also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This legislation, which involved a hike to fuel tax rates, is intended to direct $54 billion over the next decade to fixing roads, highways and bridges, as well as supporting transit and safety.

California’s current excise tax rates are 38.5 cents per gallon on diesel and 50.5 cents per gallon on gasoline.

The projects supported through this funding announcement represent various modes in communities across the state. In Coachella, an eastbound truck climbing lane will be constructed and a temporary detour will be put in place in the median for traffic flow. Located about 100 miles north of the Mexico border, Coachella lies along Interstate 10, which stretches across the southern U.S. from Santa Monica, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla., and serves as an important conduit for freight.


A truck travels on Highway 58 in Bakersfield, Calif., the county seat of Kern County. (Epic Flightz via YouTube)

Some $15.9 million will be used to rehabilitate a portion of state Route 119 in Kern County. Work will involve reconstructing travel lines, widening intersections and shoulders, adding bicycle lanes, installing drainage inlets and upgrading ramps in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Kern County, located about 130 miles north of Los Angeles, is larger than Connecticut and Delaware combined. Agriculture is an important industry; according to the Kern County Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards’ Agricultural Crop Report, leading commodities include almonds, grapes, citrus, pistachios, milk and carrots.


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In Sacramento, $27.5 million has been directed to a project to clean and paint steel bridge girders within the interchange between I-5 and U.S. Route 50. The process is meant to prevent the oxidation of the steel girders and prolong the service lives of the bridges. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association reports some 6% of California’s bridges are classified as structurally deficient.

A partnership between Long Beach Transit and the University of California-Los Angeles was issued $6.5 million to procure five zero-emission battery-electric buses and construct charging infrastructure. The goal is to create a zero-emission coach commuter route between the Long Beach area and the university.

Some $28 million will be used to support a project to expand and modernize the northbound and southbound facilities of the John “Chuck” Erreca Rest Area in Firebaugh, which sits along I-5. The rest area is located about 130 miles south of San Francisco.

In Tuolumne County, $17 million will be used for pavement rehabilitation, guardrail and drainage upgrades, maintenance vehicle access and transportation management systems. Tuolumne County is home to Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park.

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