Southern California Contractors Association members shared their perspectives on a professional and human level, giving strength to the relationships between our Association and representatives from throughout California. Attendees included State Legislators representing districts throughout Southern California such as Orange and Riverside Counties and the Central Valley. Local officials from Newport Beach, Artesia, Montclair and the Orange County Board of Supervisors were also warmly welcomed guests. The Southern California Contractors Association continues to establish connections and engage with policymakers for the future on behalf of our members and our Industry.
The Southern California Contractors Association Meets with New Caltrans Director
The Southern California Contractors Association’s Subcommittee on Transportation Policy (STP) met with Tony Tavares, the newly appointed Director Caltrans in mid-October. The STP members and Director Tavares discussed a variety of issues including DBE challenges, contract sizes, jobsite safety and mobility within California’s highways.
Governor Newsom appointed Tony Tavares as Director of Caltrans in June of 2022. As Director of Caltrans, Mr. Tavares oversees Caltrans’ operations which has almost 20,000 employees. Prior to his appointment as Caltrans Director, Director Tavares served in diverse roles at Caltrans including the Director of Districts 7 and 4, Chief of the Division of Maintenance, and Chief of Right of Way and Land Surveys.
By far the most important issue discussed during the meeting was increasing worker safety for Caltrans and highway construction employees. Director Tavares shared the statistic that 4,258 people were killed on California’s roads and highways last year, making them a dangerous place to work. Reducing the risk to motorists and highway workers was clearly a high priority for him and the department.
Director Tavares also discussed Caltrans’ stated values with the STP members. In addition to the virtues of safety, climate action and equity, Director Tavares added “economic prosperity” to Caltrans’ stated values shortly after he began in June. To emphasize the economic value in “economic prosperity,” Director Tavares indicated that Caltrans currently has $12 billion under contract and has awarded 4,000 public works construction projects since the passage of SB 1 in 2017. SCCA strongly supported the passage of SB 1 and helped campaign against the effort to repeal it.
The STP is a subcommittee of SCCA’s Legislative Committee and is charged with exploring California’s non-legislative transportation public policies.