Photo by Jiroe via Unsplash

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on July 7 the Clean California campaign, a $1.1 billion effort to expand trash removal from highways and fund beautification and abatement projects. 

Newsom cited that the effort will create up to 11,000 new jobs in all of the state’s 58 counties over three years. Such jobs will be available for formerly homeless people, at-risk youth, veterans, local artists, students and those reentering society from incarceration.

A third of the funds generated from the project will go directly to cities, counties, tribes and transit agencies to clean and enhance local streets and public spaces. Caltrans is awarding $296 million in matching grants to fund projects on local streets and roads, tribal lands, parks, pathways and transit centers in both underserved, rural and urban communities.

In 2020, Caltrans collected 270,000 cubic yards of trash. Clean California’s goal is to remove 1.2 million more cubic yards of trash. Caltrans will be placed in charge of the program. 

“We see what you see, it’s unacceptable, we can do more, we can do better, and now we have the resources to make all of that happen,” Newsom said at the kick-off event in Richmond, California, the Bay Area leg of the campaign road trip. 

Additionally, Newsom said the three-year program will also engage members of the community about good garbage disposal habits in an effort to prevent future littering. 

“The initiative focuses on driving a cultural shift of shared responsibility and community pride for the cleanliness of our roadways through education on properly throwing away trash and the impacts littering has on natural resources, waterways, public safety and health to encourage Californians to do their part to keep our state clean,” Kerstin Tomlinson, public information officer at Caltrans told Scriberr News. 

In previous years, the $1.1 billion project had a budget of $80 million, a major upscale thanks to a “record surplus” this year of more than $80 billion, said Newsom. State lawmakers approved a $286.2 billion budget in late June for the new fiscal year that began July 1.

“Time to use our tax dollars a little bit more appropriately,” Newsom said about the Clean California initiative unveiled during a visit to Richmond.

Written ByVivian Kwang

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