Caltrans: Freeway Upgrades Across Southern California Nearing 'Record High'

Reported by Patch editor Toni McAllister

Motorists on Southern California’s busy highway system may be noticing a lot of orange cones these days.

Upgrades to local freeways are many, and news came out this week that more improvements are to be expected.

“We’re not at a historical peak [in terms of projects], but we’re very close,” said David Richardson, spokesman for Caltrans District 12.

Over the course of 2013, the state agency has announced billions of dollars slated for transportation improvement projects across Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Just this week it was announced that the nearly $1 billion dollar 91 Freeway upgrade through western Riverside County will break ground in December. 

Caltrans also announced this week that an allocation of $46,779,000 will be used to add one High Occupancy Lane in each direction on Interstate 5 in South Orange County. Los Angeles County was also notified this week that it too will see a little over $6 million allocated for various projects along I-10, SR-1, SR-105, as well as an improvement to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority.

Where is all the money coming from? Taxpayers of course, but in a variety of ways.

To a degree, the federal government has helped propel projects statewide. For example, in September the feds rewarded California with a near-record $155 million in transportation funding after the state met all its 2013 transportation project federal deadlines.

Richardson said federal money received through President Barack Obama’s American Recovery & Reinvestment Act has helped fuel local projects, but that money is now winding down. Funding from sources such as the state's Proposition 1B,  and local tax measures, like Orange County’s Measure M, are where a large chunk of the current allocations are coming from, he said.

"A lot of it hit at the same time," Richardson said. "We build when the money is there."

For more info visit Caltrans District 8: Riverside and San Bernardino counties

Reported by Patch editor Toni McAllister


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