By Shirin Rajaee

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A state Senator is pushing to bring much-needed funding for California roads through a public-private partnership that is set to not cost taxpayers a dime.

Senator Bob Huff, who represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties says, “I’m looking for any pot of money that’s not raising taxes on people to help fix our roads.”

Sen. Bob Huff (Credit: CBS13)

Sen. Bob Huff (Credit: CBS13)

SB 1397 would enact the Highway Safety and Information Act, allowing CalTrans to sell advertising displays on changeable message signs.

From traffic warnings to Amber Alerts, drivers pass by the signs often. There are about 700 of them along highways throughout the state. But with this legislation, drivers could soon see ads on them as well along with major state of the art upgrades.

The bill would allow companies to bid for spots, but CalTrans would still have complete control of the content.

The ads are estimated to generate about $200 million a year for the state. The money is expected to go into the repair and upgrade of the state highway system.

Senator Huff says, “The pilot project also allows for an evaluation of any driver distraction issues. Finally, SB 1397 will require Federal Highway Administration approval of the demonstration phase before the program can be initiated.”

Some drivers tell CBS13 they’re concerned the advertising would be too distracting and could take away from the important messages the signs were originally meant for. But that’s why a pilot program would be rolled out prior to full implementation.

SB 1397 has a number of hurdles to pass before it goes to the Governor’s desk.

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