State transportation officials announced Friday that 13 pavement projects statewide, including some in or around the Coachella Valley, will get underway this summer following the recent passage of a bill that will increase gas and vehicle registration taxes.
More than $285 million in road repair projects are planned this year following the April signing of SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The bill commits $5.4 billion annually over the next decade for various transportation projects.
Funding will be raised through a variety of means, including a 12-cent increase on the gas excise tax, a 20-cent increase on the diesel excise tax, a new fee between $25 and $175 for all vehicles and a new $100 annual vehicle registration fee for zero-emission vehicles. The gas hikes will take effect this November, while the new annual vehicle fee kicks in starting in 2018. The zero-emission vehicle registration fee will take effect starting in 2020.
"This legislation provides for needed investments to fix California’s roads, and Caltrans is acting quickly to get to work," Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty said. "This summer we will deploy construction teams across the state to resurface highways, improve safety for motorists and start filling more potholes than ever before."
In the desert, $19.5 million will go towards replacing and repairing damaged pavement on Interstate 10 between Indio and Coachella, as well as on state routes 111 and 86 near Mecca. The projects include repaving cracked and damaged surfaces, and restriping roads to improve lane visibility in various weather conditions.
An additional 50 projects are expected to begin construction this fiscal year.
Transportation officials say the funds will help repair "more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges, and 55,000 culverts by 2027," as well as fix traffic operating systems such as ramp meters, traffic cameras and highway message boards.
"SB 1 dedicates transportation dollars for transportation purposes. With the law in place, we can begin to put thousands of people to work rebuilding California and its local communities — that’s exactly what we’re doing," California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly said. "This investment creates jobs, improves roads and bridges and has strong public accountability."
Visit www.rebuildingca.gov for more information on SB 1 funded projects.