September 2016

$7 Million Approved for Local Transportation Projects

September 1, 2016 – At its meeting today, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) selected projects to receive $7 million in local shares of federal transportation funds.

Following a public hearing, the RTC approved funds for 16 projects including:

  • Major pavement repairs on local roads in Ben Lomond, Happy Valley/Carbonera, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and Watsonville – $3 million
  • Bus: Funds to replace an old diesel METRO bus with a low emission CNG bus – $500,000
  • Highway 1/9 Intersection modifications: add turn lanes, bike lanes/shoulders. Intersection is used by over 80,000 vehicles per day and all METRO buses – $950,000
  • Highway 1 Corridor Environmental Review and Analysis: Complete environmental review documents including response to public comments and questions and updated traffic analysis of auxiliary lanes, bicycle/pedestrian overcrossings, and carpool lanes on Highway 1, including detailed analysis of auxiliary lanes on Highway 1 between 41st Ave and Soquel Drive and a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Highway 1 at Chanticleer Avenue – $830,000
  • Aptos Village: Turn lanes, sidewalks, improved bicycle lanes, and pavement repairs on Soquel Drive and other roadways in Aptos Village – $650,000
  • Traveler assistance programs: Tow truck safety freeway service patrols on Highway 1 and Highway 17 that assist drivers, remove collisions, and clear obstacles that impede traffic flow; Cruz511.org which provides information about traffic incidents, carpooling, taking the bus, and park-and-ride lots – $550,000
  • Environmental review and preliminary design of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network (MBSST) Rail Trail along the north coast near Davenport – $300,000
  • Safe Routes to Schools Youth Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Education programs provided by Ecology Action in second and fifth grade classrooms – $50,000

After considering testimony from members of the public, Commissioners committed $10,000 for an Open Streets event in Watsonville. Additional information on the approved projects and the related staff report, are available on the Regional Transportation Commission’s website: www.sccrtc.org/funding-planning/project-funding/ and in the meeting agenda packet: https://sccrtc.org/meetings/commission/agendas/.

These grant funds come from the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG), a federal program created by the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or “FAST Act”. Due to the volatility of gas tax revenues, delays in adoption of the federal transportation act, and the unreliability of State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds, this was the first time the RTC has programmed funds to new projects since 2013. The region’s proportional share of Federal and State revenues continues to fall severely short of what is required to address the backlog of infrastructure repairs, safety, traffic congestion, bicycle and pedestrian projects that have been identified as priorities by the community. Measure D – a countywide November ballot measure – would bring in an additional $500 million through a ½ cent sales tax for priority local transportation projects such as fixing potholes, improving traffic flow on Highway 1, expanding safe routes to school and other bicycle and pedestrian projects, and maintaining transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities. Information on Measure D is online at: www.sccrtc.org/move.

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