Public Works & Infrastructure

Overview

Public Works & Infrastructure

Article President’s Message By League of California Cities President Cindy Silva

Federal infrastructure package ends a years-long funding drought, and Cal Cities is committed to ensuring all cities get their turn at the faucet

After months of negotiations, Congress passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. If your city is like mine, you have a long list of infrastructure projects that need funding. The challenge is that the federal infrastructure package is incredibly complicated, encompassing hundreds of separate programs across multiple agencies.

Article Solutions for Cities By Haig Kartounian

Need help planning electric vehicle charging projects?

From planning and design to permitting, and construction, Southern California Edison has helped its customers install thousands of charging stations for passenger vehicles and hundreds more for heavy-duty vehicles like buses and trucks through its Charge Ready programs.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Rhea R. Borja

Windsor builds one of the nation’s biggest floating solar arrays

When the town of Windsor realized that its wastewater treatment facility produced as much as 45% of the town’s total greenhouse gas emissions, it began searching for a cleaner, greener way to power the facility. The resulting project, one of the largest of its kind, has numerous environmental benefits and saves the town about $175,000 annually.

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government By Karalee Browne

Isolated and costly: The unique infrastructure challenges facing rural communities

Rural communities face different infrastructure needs and challenges than many larger cities. And although the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has many cities excited about the upcoming opportunities, rural leaders worry that they lack the staff and matching dollars to compete with bigger cities for their fair share of the bounty.

Pismo Beach aerial view of street
Article Local Works By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards showcase local infrastructure projects; Pismo Beach takes top prize

Pismo Beach and Santa Clarita were honored for their innovative infrastructure projects at this year’s Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards. Both cities show that, when given the necessary resources, local leaders can find creative solutions to statewide problems, even during the worst economic conditions in decades.

Old bridge
Article Features By Caroline Cirrincione

Congress passed a historic infrastructure law: What this means for California and its cities

For years, the League of California Cities has fought for state and federal infrastructure funding. In 2021, the federal government responded with an infrastructure package, including $45 billion expected for California. Cal Cities is carrying out multiple strategies to ensure cities have what they need to access the funding.

Fremont streets
Article Local Works By Brian Lee-Mounger Hendershot

Traffic fatalities across the US rose in 2020 but not in Fremont. What did the city do differently?

In 2015, Fremont’s city council committed to a bold goal: Reduce traffic-related fatalities to zero. Even though the city was already a national leader in traffic safety, this new mindset forced officials to rethink their approach to traffic safety. Known as Vision Zero, Fremont’s traffic safety focuses on integrating human error into transportation systems, instead of reducing it.

Aerial shot of park
Article Local Works By Gilbert Livas

Working together for the community: Downey’s Measure S neighborhood improvement program delivers on promises

In November 2016, Downey residents voted to invest in the most robust capital improvement program in the city’s history: Measure S, a 1/2 percent transactions and use tax that generates approximately $10 million per year for the city. Thanks to Measure S, Downey residents now experience increased public safety, benefit from important infrastructure upgrades, and enjoy additional amenities.

Article Executive Director's Message by Carolyn Coleman

Building bridges to a brighter future with infrastructure investment

As city leaders worked around the clock to lead their communities through a global pandemic, they also dealt with devastating budget shortfalls that forced cuts in local services and delays in much-needed infrastructure projects. However, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. The supply of vaccine doses is growing, eligibility is expanding, and assistance for cities in the recently enacted American Rescue Plan is on the way. Cities will now have resources to begin to recover and rebuild from the pandemic. 

The city of Santa Rosa’s “Fulton Road Reconstruction” project repaired approximately 3,200 lineal feet of 4-lane principal arterial pavement and associated bike lanes.
Article Features by Jill Oviatt

Despite pandemic-related challenges, California cities pave the way to award-winning infrastructure projects

Upgrading local streets and roads is critical to communities, and many projects were well underway when the pandemic hit in early 2020. Thanks to the innovation, dedication, and creativity of local officials, the projects were not only completed, but received statewide recognition through the 2021 Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards.

Storm water flows through drain.
Article Legal Notes by John J. Harris

California municipal stormwater permits: recent court cases cities should consider

One of the primary points of contention between cities and water boards has been the cost of achieving water quality goals – the water boards have steadily imposed more restrictive requirements in municipal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, while expecting cities and counties alone to bear the costs. This article covers two court decisions affecting cities and the key takeaways for local government officials.

City of Escondido public works employees remove graffiti.

City of Escondido develops innovative and collaborative program to eliminate graffiti

Graffiti destroys property, costs cities hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, and can blight entire communities. To address graffiti issues, the City of Escondido created a custom designed smartphone app to crowdsource information from the community to help keep their city clean and free of graffiti. 

Article President's Message by Cheryl Viegas Walker

Cal Cities strategic priorities set a course for 2021

In December 2020, city leaders who serve in leadership positions for the League of California Cities divisions, departments, policy committees, and diversity caucuses convened virtually for the annual League Leaders program, to chart the organization’s priorities for 2021. Developing member-driven and -informed strategic advocacy priorities is key to the effectiveness of Cal Cities’ advocacy efforts on behalf of cities.

Article Features

Tips on Temporary Use of Public Property for Private Business

What cities should know about accommodating businesses in public spaces.

Article Features by Stephanie Hunting and Liz Moody

From Vision to Reality: Lessons Learned in Complete Street Implementation

These projects can be challenging, but they improve traffic and support healthy lifestyles.

Article Features by Curtis Wright

Code Enforcement During a Pandemic: Lessons Learned

Many cities have employed code enforcement staff in unique ways to protect the public and advance pandemic protocols.

Article Local Works by Amanda Cadelago

Cities Harness Creativity as They Develop Safe Reopening Plans

­While different regions and industry sectors opened at various times, the desire to safely reopen businesses and give residents opportunities to carefully move about their communities was a common theme guiding city leaders’ decisions.

Greening the Concrete Jungle: Daly City Partners With Residents

Project Green Space is a robust urban forestry and green infrastructure program convened by the city and driven by residents. The program empowers community members to actively reshape the future of their neighborhoods by adopting new trees and planting and maintaining rain gardens.

Article Local Works

Affordable Housing: More Than a Mandate in San Marcos
How San Marcos Leveraged Affordable Housing for Smart Growth

In an area that lacked basic infrastructure, two mixed-use affordable housing developments brought improvements including new streets, drainage, and lighting. A complex mix of federal, state, and city funding, matched with private-sector loans, covered the costs.

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government by Nicole Enright

New Clean Mobility Options Roll Out in Arvin

With just a few taps on a smartphone app, residents can check out an electric vehicle, get in, and go.