Malibu Canyon road repaving project costs under $500K

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The state budget cuts are on everyone’s mind. Conversations can be overheard in restaurants and supermarket lines about the trickle-down affects on local economies. With such a heightened sensitivity to financial issues, some Malibu residents are questioning every city and county expense in their field of vision, including the road construction on Malibu Canyon Road.

The Los Angeles County Public Works Department paid the Sully-Miller Contract Company just under $500,000 to resurface and restripe the road. Drivers who go down the stretch of pavement beginning just outside the Malibu city limits to mile marker 1.5 (that is the only description provided for the project) have been subject to lengthy delays, up to 45 minutes, especially during the week of Jan. 20. Work was schedule to be done by Jan. 30.

Is this roadwork taking funding away from essential programs?

“No,” said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Public Works Department. “The Public Works Department is different than other departments-our money is targeted. This money does not come out of the county’s general fund, in other words it’s not being taken away from health care or hospitals or anything like that.”

The money used to fund repaving projects like Malibu Canyon comes from a gasoline tax. The state collects 18 cents per gallon of unleaded and diesel fuel sold. The federal government collects 18.4 cents per gallon for unleaded gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. That money gets funneled back down to each local entity.

“It’s the closest thing to a user fee you can get,” Pellman said.

When asked whether the money could be redirected to other areas such as education, Pellman said that would take a special political proposition but it’s not impossible.

“I can understand people’s concerns, I really can. Our department does not have control over these funds. We do our job with whatever we’re given.”

Part of that job means resurfacing roads in a proactive manner and not waiting for massive decline in the asphalt before completing the work. Projects like Malibu Canyon are scheduled for regular maintenance.

By keeping the streets in good condition, Pellman said citizens are safer because emergency vehicles can get through in a timely fashion.

“People don’t usually complain about the condition of the roads because we maintain them well,” Pellman said. “I’m proud to be in this office-we do a good job.”

For more information on road construction projects call 1.800.675.4357 or visit www.ci.malibu.ca.us.