More Public Works Challenges
California has the 8th largest economy in the world due in large part to its vast network of public infrastructure that includes transportation, water and natural resources along with educational and other public facilities. However, much of this infrastructure is aging and needs to be renovated or improved to meet our current and future needs.
With a population of 37.2 million and growing, our infrastructure is under constant strain and needs considerable investment to maintain and build new infrastructure to accommodate growth. Among California’s public works challenges are the need to expand congested airports and seaports and maintain and upgrade wastewater systems.
California’s airports are the busiest in the nation with more than 150 million people and billions of air cargo flowing through yearly. More than 1.6 billion tons of cargo pass yearly thorough LAX alone, making it the 7th in the world for tonnage of cargo managed. Future economic growth and an increase in population will strain our current capacity and demand more efficient air travel and cargo transport. To remain competitive, California must manage its influx of people and cargo by expanding airports and building more regional airports at a cost of tens of billions.
California’s seaports play a vital role in the economy by transporting goods and creating jobs. In 2007, more than 40 percent of containerized cargo entering the United States arrived at California ports. Port activities employ half-a-million people in California—generating nearly $7 billion in state and local tax revenues annually. Port improvements are needed to improve efficiency and productivity and to increase capacity and reliability of cargo shipments. These improvements include upgrades or replacement of port bridges, renovating port roadways, expansion of rail yards, improvements to railroad main lines, channel dredging projects and wharf upgrades.
More than 4 billion gallons of wastewater flow daily through our wastewater systems, which include sewers, treatment plants and effluent disposal. California has 100,000 miles of sewers and 200 wastewater treatment plants, all in in varying conditions. For our infrastructure to perform adequately and meet state standards, California must continue maintaining, upgrading and in some cases expanding the capacity of its wastewater infrastructure, requiring a long-term commitment from Californians.