California’s aging infrastructure has had a lot of folks talking in the state lately–transportation and water groups and businesses, construction, local elected leaders, even you. Yes, you. If you hit a pothole in the road or a water main breaks in a busy intersection near your neighborhood, it’s annoying, right? Those are all effects of under-financed infrastructure projects.
Infrastructure has been identified as one of the seven Signature Initiatives by the California Economic Summit. It was a common theme at regional economic forums held throughout the state earlier this year as part of the Summit process.
There’s no doubt about it, we have to fix the state’s existing infrastructure. But how, when its increasingly difficult for the state to cover its estimated $765 billion infrastructure deficit over the next 10 years?
California Forward recently sat down with Praful Kulkarni, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow and former Los Angeles County Highway Safety commissioner. He’s also the founder, president and CEO of GKKWorks, an architectural and construction management firm.
Kulkarni believes Prop 13 helped make keeping the state’s infrastructure maintained more difficult but also unlikely to be changed because folks don’t favor across-the-board tax increases. And therefore, we have to think of other creative ways to pay for infrastructure, like private-public partnerships (P3’s).
The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach is just one success story of P3’s. Kulkarni said many L.A. county courthouses and other buildings are around thanks to P3’s.
Finding the right way to pay for and prioritize infrastructure projects across all regions of California will help grease the wheels of goods movement here and keep the state’s economy on the right track for recovery.