Thursday, July 13, 2006

STA OK's plan for transit expenditures

Article Launched: 07/11/2006 07:55:32 AM

By Julie Kay/Staff Writer

A subcommittee of the Solano Transportation Authority approved a proposed set of guidelines Monday on how to fund transportation projects that benefit one or more specific cities as well as the region overall.

In a 4-1 vote, members of the STA's Arterials, Highways, and Freeways Committee approved guidelines the agency developed proposing that the county provide 50 percent of funding for such a project and the city or cities benefiting provide the remaining half.

The proposal also includes guidelines for what kind of projects would be eligible for such a funding split.

The guidelines are designed primarily to apply to regionally significant interchanges and "reliever routes," or routes which run parallel to major highways to decrease traffic on roads such as interstates.

One example would be improving the interchange between I-80 and state route 113, which would benefit both Dixon and the region overall. Jepson Parkway, a planned highway alternative which would run along what are currently Leisure Town and Vanden roads, also would benefit both the region and specific cities.

To qualify for joint funding, a project would have to be adopted into the STA Overall Work Plan - the STA's prioritized list of upcoming transportation projects - the proposal says.

Funding for past transportation projects benefiting both a particular city and the region overall have been negotiated on a case-by-case basis. With many regionally significant transportation projects currently planned, the STA proposed the guidelines to simplify the funding process.

"The intent is to provide implementing agencies such as STA, the seven cities, and the County a uniform policy for funding projects with regionally generated funds," reads the explanation of the proposal in the meeting agenda.

Janet Adams, the STA Director of Projects, said the 50-50 policy is meant to serve as a starting point, not a policy set in stone.

"It gives us all guidelines for the future," she said. "There absolutely may be a situation where for a very good reason all parties agree to have a deviation. But it gives the overreaching policy."

STA committees are made up of local officials, public works directors, and members of the public. Committee members on the Arterials, Highways, and Freeways Committee who voted in favor of the funding proposal Monday were Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine, Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez, and Benicia Councilmember Alan Schwartzman. Rio Vista Mayor Ed Woodruff voted against the proposal. Solano County Supervisor John Silva was absent from the meeting.

The proposal was approved by the STA's Technical Advisory Committee on June 28 and will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday at a board workshop. A final vote on the proposed guidelines is not expected until the fall.

Julie Kay can be reached at

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