Home>Articles>U.S. Department Of Transportation Gives $3 Million To Caltrans For I-10 Repair Effort

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, August 1, 2022. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe).

U.S. Department Of Transportation Gives $3 Million To Caltrans For I-10 Repair Effort

Newsom and Bass ‘patting themselves on the back’ for federal funds the DOT would have given anyway

By Evan Symon, November 16, 2023 2:30 am

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg authorized the release of $3 million in emergency funding to help pay for repair work on the fire-damaged section of the I-10 freeway in Los Angeles on Wednesday, with the funds becoming a large part of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) repair effort.

A large section of the I-10 has remained closed following a large fire that occurred on Saturday. While the damage was initially thought to have been so bad  that a total rebuild was needed, subsequent tests upgraded the situation to being repairable, with a reopening timeline being moved from “months” to “between 3 and 5 weeks” on Tuesday. Despite this, the cost of the job, due in part to crews being assigned to work on repairs 24/7, has remained high.

Both Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Karen subsequently petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation for repair funds to help offset state and local costs. Specifically, they asked for emergency funding through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). While the funds were expected to come soon, the Department of Transportation surprised Newsom and Bass on Wednesday by granting them the funding only days after being asked. As Secretary Buttigieg explained on Wednesday, the section of I-10 that was shutdown was deemed essential due to 300,000 people using the stretch each day, as well as it being vital for trucking and other commercial uses.

“This segment of I-10 is a vital corridor in our Interstate Highway System, and it’s important to hundreds of thousands of commuters as well as to America’s supply chains that it be quickly repaired,” said Buttigieg in a statement. “These federal emergency funds will help California launch this urgent repair work, and the Biden-Harris administration stands ready to provide further resources as necessary to address this issue quickly and safely.”

Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt added that “We know the I-10 corridor is a critical connection for both people and goods traveling in and around Los Angeles. The quick release funding we’re providing Caltrans is the first of many steps we are taking to help California get this key route open as soon as possible for the workers, residents and businesses that rely on this route every day.”

In response, Newsom praised the federal governments decision and said that the funding was essential to bring the I-10 fully back online by the end of the year.

“I want to thank the Biden-Harris Administration for their continued partnership to help California fix the 10. Fixing this freeway is critical to restoring the movements of people and goods in the third-largest metropolitan economy in the world,” said Newsom. “With President Biden’s support to rebuild critical infrastructure, California is leveraging an all-of-government approach — working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — to fix the 10 as quickly as possible so we can get LA’s traffic moving safely in December.”

Despite the praise, transportation experts told the Globe on Wednesday that such funding is expected in a situation like the I-10.

“This seems like everyone patting themselves on the back,” explained  Mark Wiley, an engineer who specializes in highway structures, to the Globe. “The Federal Highway Administration always gives this sort of emergency funding out. Granted, it is usually not this quick, but considering the kind of traffic the 10 gets, it makes sense. It is a federal highway after all. Honestly, the federal government would have given this sort of money even without Newsom or Bass asking. This isn’t a case of politicians fighting hard to get money. This is the federal government simply doing their job in assisting an emergency.

“Newsom’s page has the headline ‘California Secures Quick Release Funding From Biden-Harris Administration.’ In reality, it should read “Government Department does job.” But I guess that isn’t a snappy headline.”

Repair work on the I-10 is expected to continue 24/7 for at least the next several weeks to make it at least partially open sometime in December.

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3 thoughts on “U.S. Department Of Transportation Gives $3 Million To Caltrans For I-10 Repair Effort

  1. Buttigieg said that this segment of is a vital corridor in the Interstate Highway System and Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said that I-10 is a critical connection for both people and goods traveling in and around Los Angeles. Meanwhile Democrats in the Biden regime, Democrat LA Mayor Bass and Democrats on the LA City Council allowed homeless encampments to exist around the highway and flammable items to be stored under it? They all need to be held personally accountable maybe with criminal and civil lawsuits?

  2. Where do we find out which contractors are being hired for the work performed on the 10? Which unions? Which dumps is the debris being taken to? Who are the engineers working at CalTrans on this project specifically? Where do they meet? Who do they confer with?

    Who at CalTrans was responsible for managing leasee’s and rental agreements? Who is that person’s direct supervisor? What are their salaries? Where do they work?

    What was the civil case number for the suit that CalTrans filed against the renter of the property?

    Who was the renter, legally?

    Are there any building and safety complaints on file with the City? Are there any code enforecement actions at the property from the prior 3 to 5 years? Who were the enforcement officers? Who are their supervisors?

    How are the workers on site faring? Anyone had their truck broken into yet?

  3. 3 million won’t come close to covering the cost of this repair. If it takes the high side of 5 weeks as Newsom said it would that would be $600,000 a week. If they work 24/7 as publicly indicated that equals 168 hours worked a week. Doing the math that equals $3,571.42 per hour for labor only. It doesn’t make sense. Someone needs to audit this repair to see what it actually costs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t already spent a million in putting the fire out, starting the structural analysis and removal of contaminated debris.

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