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The California Transportation Commission has allocated $1.18 billion for infrastructure projects throughout the state.
The commission, which is made up of 13 members, is responsible for programming and directing transportation funds for highway, rail, transit and active transportation purposes.
More than half of the investment, some $630 million, came from Senate Bill 1, also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This legislation, which involved a hike to fuel tax rates, is intended to direct $54 billion over a decade to fixing roads, highways and bridges, as well as supporting transit and safety.
According to the commission, SB 1 annually provides $5 billion in transportation funding, which is split between state and local agencies.
“California has the most heavily traveled transportation system in the country,” said California Department of Transportation Director Toks Omishakin. “[This] investment will allow Caltrans to make critical repairs and upgrades to our state’s roads and bridges, increase options for transit, rail, walking and biking, and support thousands of jobs.”
Some $7.8 million was approved for the Imperial County Transportation Commission in support of truck crossing improvements at the Calexico East Port of Entry. Imperial County comprises the eastern half of California’s border with Mexico.
The Calexico East Port of Entry, which links Imperial County to Mexicali, is a bustling crossing point for commercial trucks. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, this port of entry has processed 107,929 trucks so far in 2021.
About $200 million was set aside for constructing a truck climbing lane along Interstate 10, which stretches across the southern U.S. from Santa Monica, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla., and serves as an important conduit for freight.
In Stockton, $20 million will support a project located at a freight rail corridor that links the Port of Stockton to markets throughout California. An inland port located on the San Joaquin River, the Port of Stockton has handling facilities for dry and liquid bulk materials as well as containerized cargo.
Specifically, crews will build a flyover spanning the Stockton Diamond, an at-grade crossing point for Union Pacific Corp. and BNSF Railway tracks. According to the commission, the project will provide vertical clearance, eliminating interference between the freight railroads at this intersection.
A few of the projects focus on incorporating alternative fuels into the transportation sector. Some $5 million was issued for the procurement of 20 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses and related infrastructure to improve service frequency in Los Angeles County.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System was issued $13.3 million to purchase 11 battery-electric buses. Specifically, these buses will be used on the Iris Rapid route, which will link passengers from Otay Mesa to the Iris Avenue station east of Imperial Beach when it is completed.
Along I-10, some $1.3 million was approved for the installation of electric charging stations for zero-emission vehicles near Banning and Blythe. Banning is 30 mile east of San Bernardino. Blythe is located directly across
The company is planning for 70% of its sales in Europe and 40% of sales in the US to be either fully electric or plug-in hybrid (but with a large majority of those vehicles being fully electric) within four years, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said during an online presentation.
“[The plan] is among the most aggressive electric vehicle commitments the industry has yet seen,” said Karl Brauer, an industry analyst with ISeeCars.com.
Among its upcoming offerings will be an all-electric muscle car from Stellantis’ Dodge brand, as well as an all-electric Ram pickup.
The new Dodge is expected in 2024. Dark images in Stellantis’ video presentaion show it to have sharp corners and retro styling, much like the current Dodge Challenger. It also shows a light-up version of Dodge’s triangular 1960’s logo.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis offered no further details, but made it clear that Dodge will continue as a high-horsepower performance brand. It has become clear, though, that electric cars offer real performance competition to the traditional internal combustion V8 engines Dodge is famous for. Tesla’s electric Model S four-door sedan can now at least match the drag strip performance of a highly specialized Dodge performance coupe, like the Challenger Demon
Kuniskis admitted that engineers are reaching the performance limits of internal combustion engines and now require at least some assistance from electric motors to get large gains in power and performance. Even exotic sports car makers, like Ferrari and McLaren, are introducing plug-in hybrids, not just as a way of beating emissions standards, but as a way of increasing speed.
As part of its electrification plan, Stellantis is creating four different electric vehicle “platforms,” or core engineering setups. One will be for compact vehicles, like the Fiat 500, one for medium-sized vehicles, like mid-sized sedans and crossovers, and another for larger vehicles, like SUVs, large sedans or minivans. All of those will incorporate battery packs into the floor of the vehicle.
A fourth platform will be engineered with a separate metal frame with the battery packs carried between the frame rails. This structure, similar to the one Ford uses in the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup, will be for trucks like the electric Ram 1500 pickup, which is also planned for 2024.
The electric vehicles will be able to drive up to about 500 miles on a charge, according to Stellantis. The company expects that, by 2026, the total ownership cost of electric vehicles, including fuel and insurance costs, will be the same as for internal combustion-powered vehicles without any government incentives.
The company plans a full line of electric and plug-in hybrid trucks and commercial vehicles. These will include ones with a new technology Stellantis is calling Range Electric Paradigm Breaker. Without providing any details, Stellantis executives promised it would allow towing and hauling without concerns about reduced driving range.
Stellantis will also operate five large battery factories in North America and Europe and the company expects to have made advances in solid state battery