Your economic stimulus dollars at work

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was up on the northern edge of Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s 10th Congressional District this morning to announce California’s first construction groundbreaking of an infrastructure project funded by the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

It’s improvement of the pavement on a 50-year-old section of Interstate 80, between State Route 12 and Air Base Parkway in Fairfield, a roadway used by nearly 200,000 motorists each day; the governor’s office estimates it’ll create more than 200 jobs.

“When President Obama made infrastructure projects a priority, we immediately took action because we know firsthand this investment provides a shot to the arm for our economy and puts Californians back to work,” Schwarzenegger said in a news release. “The groundbreaking of this project illustrates how quickly and effectively we are pumping Recovery Act funding into our economy to create jobs for Californians and invest in the future of our state’s infrastructure.”

Expected to be completed by the end of 2009, the $13.5 million project will resurface and repair the freeway thereby extending pavement life, saving taxpayers money, and improving road conditions for motorists and truckers moving goods. The winning bid from contractor Top Grade Construction of Livermore was the lowest bid submitted at nearly 40 percent below the California Department of Transportation’s cost estimate. Savings from this project have been directed to advance other highway projects.

Estimates show California will receive nearly $2.6 billion from the Recovery Act for highways and local streets and $1 billion for transit projects. Discretionary programs could add another $300 million, and the governor’s office says California “expects to be very competitive in securing a portion of $8 billion set aside nationally for high-speed rail and intercity rail.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.