RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — Governor Gavin Newsom was in the Bay Area Wednesday morning to kick off a new $1.1 billion effort to clear trash off of streets and freeways across California.
His new Clean California initiative is part of his $12 billion California Comeback plan.READ MORE: Coast Guard: Cargo Ship Dragging Anchor Likely Caused SoCal Oil Spill
Newsom spoke about the plan to revitalize California’s streets at an event in Richmond Tuesday morning.
Caltrans crews helped pick up at an East Bay commuter parking lot, taking away trash that lined a fence on the lot just off I-80.
Newsom said that in addition to the over $1 billion in funding that will go towards cleaning up Caltrans property, additional funding will be made available for cities and local governments.
“Time to clean up the state. Time to be a little bit more accountable; time to use our tax dollars a little bit more appropriately,” said Newsom.
More than just making communities look better, Newsom said the effort will also give thousands of jobs to veterans, people who are transitioning from homelessness and at-risk youth.READ MORE: Fairfield Police Arrest 4 Suspected in Catalytic Converter Theft Ring
“We’ve already hired or at least had job offers for 400 people just last week. And our goal is 11,000 people all throughout the state of California as part of this program,” explained Newsom.
Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said that residents in his county would be ready to help with the effort and take ownership.
“Communities want to be involved in making their own neighborhood more beautiful, more livable and safer,” said Gioia.
Caltrans crews collected enough waste last year in the Bay Area to fill up 18,000 trash trucks. That’s unacceptable to state leaders. The new annual clean-up budget of $1.1 billion was a substantial increase from the only $80 million allotted to Caltrans just a few years ago.
“The litter problem, the trash problem, has plagued the state for many years. For decades,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin.MORE NEWS: 8 People Displaced by House Fire in San Lorenzo
When KPIX asked Governor Newsom what would happen when trash once again piles up in problem spots, he said that the program would be built around the idea of accountability and crews would be right back out to clean up again.