Orange County Register Opinion Editorial: Needed road repairs coming soon to southern California

November 1, 2017
By: John Hakel

Southern California drivers struggle through the worst commute in the entire United States and drive on some of the country’s most crumbled, bumpy roads. Thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 1 this past year, road repairs for Southern California are soon on the way.

SB1, which kicks in on Nov. 1, will provide $5 billion annually in new funding statewide to fix local streets and roads, fill potholes, reduce traffic congestion, make road and bridge safety repairs and improve mass transit.

These road repairs cannot begin soon enough. Sixty percent of the Los Angeles region’s roads have pavements in substandard conditions, according to the transportation research group TRIP. Southern California drivers pay an additional $892 every year to fix and maintain their vehicles because our roads are in such poor condition. Bad roads cost us all money. Congested roads cost us time away from our families and reduce productivity because workers and goods are stuck in traffic.

SB1 will provide funding to every community in the state. Revenues will be split 50/50 between city and county road repairs and state highway and bridge fixes.

In southern California, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and every city within those counties, will collectively receive almost $8 billion over the next 10 years to repair local streets and roads.

And just last week, the California Transportation Commission fast-tracked nearly $3.4 billion for 90 “fix-it-first” projects including improving or replacing 66 bridges, rehabilitating more than 1,200 lane miles of pavement on highways across the state, and investing in traffic congestion relief projects all over California.

Here in Southern California, the CTC projects include:
• Pavement improvements on nearly 150 lane miles of Interstate 605 and more than 270 lane miles on State Route 1 in Los Angeles and Orange Counties;
• Pavement improvements on 119 lane miles of Interstate 5 in LA County;
• Traffic congestion relief projects on State Route 22, SR-55, SR-57, SR-73, SR-91, SR-133, SR-261, I-5, I-405 and I-605 in Orange County.
• Pavement improvements on more than 300 lane miles on Interstate 10 in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
• Bridge safety repairs on multiple bridges, overpasses and under-crossings on Interstate 10 and State Route 60 in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
• A traffic management system project on State Route 71 and pavement improvements on State Route 210 in San Bernardino County.

These projects will help reduce commute times and save motorists money by reducing unnecessary wear and tear on our vehicles. SB1 will also help boost our local economy by putting people to work and improving the mobility of goods and services.

The measure will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs throughout southern California and the entire state, as employees get to work on thousands of local projects that will not only improve their lives, but will also improve the lives of everyone in our communities.

Protections in SB1 ensure the funding goes for transportation purposes only. A special auditor will get rid of waste and inefficiencies and ensure accountability. Projects will get started and completed faster.

Our state leaders are to be commended for finally prioritizing transportation repairs that are so critical to our economy and quality of life. These road repairs cannot begin soon enough.

John Hakel is the executive director of the Southern California Partnership for Jobs.