The day after Halloween, California gas prices will go up by 12 cents a gallon. That’s to help pay for tens of billions of dollars worth of pavement and bridge maintenance the state had put off for years.
Some of the roadwork it’s set to pay for is already underway.
“We don’t anticipate catching up with the condition of our infrastructure in one year,” said CalTrans director Malcolm Dougherty. He said the state will spend the next decade digging out of its current backlog, and fixing up crumbling roads sooner rather than later will save taxpayers the expense of replacing them.
“I think we’re at a pivot point where we’ll no longer be scrambling just to keep up, but this will give us the ability to start making up ground and gaining on the condition of the infrastructure,” Dougherty said.
The work will require thousands of new construction apprentices, said Michael Quigley, head of the California Alliance for Jobs. Quigley says the huge backlog of work ahead could set up many entry-level hires for years.
“For those who are entering apprenticeship programs right now, this money isn’t going to go away," Quigley said. "So you start doing some road repairs and get some experience, you could potentially do that for your entire career.”