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Newsom Budget Targets Cleaning Up California; 'The State's Too Damn Dirty'

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- It's something San Francisco Bay Area residents are confronted with everyday -- trash-strewn streets and highways.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed $268 billion state budget will help fund an effort to clean it up.

"The state's too damn dirty," Newsom said Friday during his presentation of his state budget proposal. "You look under those Caltrans overpasses, you see mattresses and you see all kinds of things that have been dumped there illegally. We've seen a huge increase in the amount of illegal dumping over the course of the last year."

Later in the day, Newsom and Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin joined a work crew cleaning up the side of a highway in the Sacramento area.

Part of the new budget if the legislature approves it is $1.5 billion to fund the clean-up and beautification of the state.

The money will be used to remove of more than 1 million cubic yards — 17,000 tons — of litter of highways and local streets. The budget also called for several beautification and litter abatement projects as well hundreds of art installations.

Here's what the budget proposal includes:

  • $418 million for litter abatement
  • $430 million for state beautification projects
  • $444 million for local beautification projects
  • $75 million for art installations
  • $50 million for a public education campaign
  • $83 million over three years for "project design, construction, local support and engagement, and administration required to deliver this initiative."

Christine Flowers, a Sacramento State professor, has spent a lot of her own time cleaning up mounds of junk she finds along the road.

"Mattresses, clothing, cardboard, construction debris. You name it, it's out there," said Flowers.

An environmental studies professor, Flowers wants more investment in keeping California clean.

"When you get it clean you need to have preventative measures. So it's not just as simple as picking it up," said Flowers.

Omishakin says the governor's massive beautification proposal will create 15,000 jobs as it aims to clean up 21 tons of trash. It's an effort officials hope will catch on and inspire community members to continue keeping public spaces clean.

"I think long-term once people see what we're doing, they'll say, 'Look, I want to take care of my community even more because look at what the public sector is doing, look at what the government is doing,'" said Omishakin


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