Freeway Upgrades Will Bring Direct and Indirect Economic Benefits
By Victor Lindenheim
Golden State Gateway Coalition
“The first priority for the coming year is the economy and jobs…”
— Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
“The Governor hit the nail on the head when he said job creation is California’s No. 1 priority.”
— State Sen. George Runner
“I agree with (the Governor) that putting California jobs first must be a top priority….”
— Assemblyman Cameron Smyth
Our governor, Santa Clarita Valley’s state senator and our assemblyman unequivocally agree on one thing: Creating jobs for Californians is job No. 1 — even while California ’s budget is scheduled for major surgery.
The Governor’s state of the state speech was a pretty good one, according to a cross section of pundits, supporters and even one or two detractors. But, alas, I could not find the word “transportation” in the text of the Governor’s state of the state remarks.
I forgive him. He obviously has other things on his mind.
I would, though, like to take the opportunity to talk about one thing he did mention that he thought was important: jobs. We at the Gateway Coalition think jobs are important, too.
And, the freeway improvement project we have been advocating will create jobs. Lots of them.
In fact, just the first phase of the project — extending the I-5 truck lanes over the Newhall Pass — will directly generate 2,100 full-time jobs and $87 million in wages. And that is less than 30 percent of the total project investment going forward, which will create even more jobs.
The construction jobs will be filled by Southern California workers. And some local manufacturing and supply industries will be providing materials; some local service companies will be supplying services. Those construction workers and suppliers may want to grab a sandwich or buy a toy for the kids from a store near the freeway construction site. There is even a probability of some localized sales of cars and homes to participants in this major freeway construction project who may have been looking elsewhere.
If you don’t think the I-5 Gateway Improvement project is good for job creation and California’s economy, I think I know why.
You probably work for the state of Nevada.