The first wave of new road projects could go out at the beginning of 2018 now that the California legislature has approved $52.4 billion over 10 years from a new 12-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. SB-1 was approved late in the evening on April 6; by April 7, the California Dept. of Transportation was already working on a list of projects that could start construction by summer of 2018.

Caltrans spokesman Skip Allum estimated that California has $6 billion in annual, unfunded maintenance needs. The extreme winter weather alone added $900 million in damages.

The funds, which would be divided between state and local agencies, could fix an estimated 17,000 lane-miles of pavement in need of refurbishing. That is a third of total roadway in the state, according to Allum. Also in need of repairs are 55,000 culverts, a problem that has led to dangerous sinkholes.

Associated General Contractors of California Chief Executive Officer Tom Holsman also heralded the bill as a way to create up to 1.5 billion jobs.