RTC Receives $107.2 Million in Grant Funding for Innovative Multimodal Transportation Improvements Throughout the County

The California Transportation Commission approved $107.2 million in grant funding for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission’s Watsonville-Santa Cruz Multimodal Corridor Program (WSC-MCP) Cycle 2 Project today. The funds are being awarded through two funding programs created by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB 1) – the Solutions for Congested Corridor Program ($92.8M) and the Local Partnership Competitive Program ($14.4M).

“This is a big win for Santa Cruz County. This project addresses the region’s long-standing concerns that improvements are done in a manner that serves everyone, are environmentally sound and enhance the economic vitality of the region,” said RTC Chair and Santa Cruz County Commissioner Bruce McPherson. “This comprehensive and transformative package of projects will provide our county with much needed congestion relief and improved access to transportation options.”

The project will increase safety and throughput on this congested corridor with an innovative package of projects to improve and integrate transit, active transportation, and highway/local roadway modes of travel.

“This will be the largest investment in transportation equity and safety in our community in history,” said RTC Commissioner and Santa Cruz County Commissioner Zach Friend. “I represent a district with a federally disadvantaged community which earns, on average, less than half of the yearly median for the U.S. They have been disproportionately impacted by congestion challenges facing the bus system and personal vehicles, and they have also experienced a disproportionate number of the injuries and fatalities associated with bike and pedestrian accidents. These projects will have positive environmental and equity impacts that are widely supported by my district and align importantly with the values outlined by our region and the state.”

The Cycle 2 Project includes improvements on Highway 1 between Soquel Avenue/Drive and State Park Drive and on Soquel Avenue/Drive between La Fonda Avenue, near Harbor High School, to State Park Drive in Aptos. This project will result in the construction of:

  • Three new sets of auxiliary lanes on Highway 1 between Soquel Drive and State Park Drive with the first 5.75-miles of an ultimate 7.5-mile hybrid bus-on-shoulder/auxiliary lane facility, where transit buses can travel in the auxiliary lane between intersections and on the shoulders at intersections to bypass traffic
  • Two new Highway 1 bicycle/pedestrian overcrossings (Chanticleer Avenue and Mar Vista Drive) and a bridge replacement at Capitola Avenue, with sidewalks and bike lanes
  • Soquel Avenue/Drive multimodal improvements including, buffered/protected bicycle lanes totaling 5 miles, 46 green bike boxes for left turn movements, sidewalk gap closures, 100 ADA cramps, 96 crosswalk upgrades, crosswalk warning devises at 10-mid block locations, and adaptive traffic signal control with transit prioritization at 23 intersections

“The project will provide numerous benefits, including improved traffic operations and safety on Highway 1, reduced traffic diverted onto local streets and neighborhoods, improved transit bus service and safer infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said RTC Executive Director Guy Preston. “The project will decrease congestion, reduce vehicle miles traveled and create a more sustainable community.”

Measure D, a transaction and use tax dedicated to transportation and passed by over 2/3 of the County’s voters in 2016, was paramount in receiving this grant. Measure D funding was used to advance the delivery of the project and was necessary to leverage the grant funds.

The RTC is partnering with Caltrans, METRO, and the County of Santa Cruz on delivering the project. The County of Santa Cruz will be the lead agency in implementation of the Soquel Avenue/Drive multimodal improvements. The Highway 1 improvements will be constructed by Caltrans with the RTC implementing environmental clearance and final design. The RTC is adjusting its schedules to correspond with the construction grant award and anticipates that all components of this extensive project will be under construction by 2023.

For more information on the Watsonville-Santa Cruz Multimodal Corridor Program visit https://sccrtc.org/projects/multi-modal/wsc-mc/.