‘Road Repair and Accountability Act’ benefits California drivers, economy
'The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 will help drive our state into a more prosperous future'
Construction workers prepare to remove barricades on the southbound Interstate 405 on July 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo source: Kevork Djansezian Getty Images embed
‘Road Repair and Accountability Act investments in our infrastructure will create $11.2 billion a year in additional economic benefit…’
By ALICE A. HUFFMAN
Last year, California made a historic investment in repairing our state’s aging transportation infrastructure by passing Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This new law generates more than $5 billion annually for transportation improvements that will make our roads safer, ease traffic congestion, modernize and improve public transportation and repair local streets, freeways, bridges and tunnels.These funds are already being put to use in every city and county in California, with many projects already completed and thousands of shovel-ready projects in progress or due to start soon.
This new transportation investment is good for every California commuters’ bottom line and is critical to improving our quality of life often impacted spending too much time driving on bad roads and sitting in traffic.
A February economic analysis by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) found that the direct investments in transportation infrastructure due to the Road Repair and Accountability Act will actually save the average California household nearly $300 by reducing congestion and preventing vehicle repairs caused by bad roads. Statewide, operating costs for California drivers will decrease by an average of $818 million per year, or $8.2 billion over the next 10 years.
The average driver in California spends more than $700 per year on vehicle repairs, such as front-end realignments or replacing damaged shocks or tires, that are caused by poor road conditions. Californians on fixed and low-incomes are hit hardest by the cost of these unanticipated repairs.
Our crumbling roads also carry a human cost. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California’s poor roadways were a contributing factor in more than half of the roadway fatalities in 2016. Simply put, better roads mean safer roads and according to the ARTBA study, SB 1 is bringing nearly $600 million in additional safety benefits, including reduced costs from highway crashes, fatalities and property damage.
The Road Repair and Accountability Act will also be an economic boon for every community in California. This measure will create or support the equivalent of 680,000 good paying jobs over 10 years, and the ripple effect from SB 1 will create nearly $183 billion in economic growth and activity statewide.
The ARTBA report predicts that SB 1’s investments in our infrastructure will create $11.2 billion a year in additional economic benefit. Business will be able to move goods to market more efficiently, employees will have faster and less congested commutes, and create new jobs in other sectors unrelated to road construction.
Additionally, there are many opportunities for small and minority-owned businesses that specialize in roadwork and services related to improving streets, highways and transit to offer their services as we help rebuild our tired infrastructure.
Investing in our transportation network means reduced maintenance costs, safer roads for California drivers, improved commute times, and tens of thousands of good paying jobs fixing our roads. The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 will help drive our state into a more prosperous future.
Alice A. Huffman is president of the California State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.