Our state has a rich history of planning ahead, of being innovative, and of providing quality infrastructure to our state's residents. Our freeway system was once the envy of every state in the nation. Today, it is falling apart for lack of maintenance and bursting at the seams in traffic load. Vehicle miles traveled between Los Angeles and San Diego will increase by 30 to 50 percent by 2030, making Orange County especially vulnerable. California's urban freeway systems are already nearing capacity, with pervasive congestion during ever-lengthening peak periods.
With the advent of free trade agreements and a unique geographical positioning near the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America, California is going to see increasing amounts of freight moving on our highways. Some of this freight will move by rail, but we will still see many more trucks on our roadways. These trucks will continue to compete for scarce freeway space with local drivers.
That's why we must invest in infrastructure programs to improve our roads, highways and bridges. We also have to take a serious look at high-speed rail as a way to get hundreds of thousands of Californians off our congested freeways. Infrastructure improvements are smart investments not only because they improve our local communities and quality of life, but because they create thousands of jobs.
It is not too late for California to become the leader again. However, it will take strong leadership and an involved public to make it happen. We need leaders in Sacramento who are willing to ensure we have good roads that get us to work, to school, and home again to see our families. Our economic success and quality of life depend on it.