OK of Prop 1A Will Aid Solano
By Erin Pursell//Staff Writer
Transportation officials estimate that Solano County will receive more than $75 million in state funding during the next 10 years thanks to voter approval of transportation propositions 1A and 1B in Tuesday's election.
"It was a good night for transportation," said Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls.
STA projects that Proposition 1A - which helps protect the transportation improvements funded by the 2002 voter-approved Proposition 42 - will secure about $28 million of the total.
"It just protects Prop 42 funds, so it's not really new money," Halls said. "It just stabilizes the money that's coming and better protects that revenue stream."
"All the cities (of Solano) are going to benefit from that and we'll now have a reliable annual funding source for local streets and roads," said Suisun City mayor and county supervisor-elect Jim Spering.
Proposition 1B - a $19.9 billion state bond measure - will provide Solano and its seven cities with $47 million to help fund transportation projects and improve local streets and roads.
"The good news is we're going to get more funds," Halls said, noting the portion that will be applied to the county's State Transportation Improvement Program fund. "In 2007 STA will be programming an additional $16 million that we wouldn't have normally."
While there is additional money available through the proposition, Halls said Solano likely will have a difficult time competing for any more dollars since it has no local sales tax measure that could help supply matching funds.
"Getting this extra money is very competitive," Halls said. "Counties that have local dollars compete better."
But, he added, STA is not giving up and plans to push hard to fund its priority projects and hopes to gain support from other transportation agencies including CalTrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
"It's big for Solano County because the Interstate 80 and I-680 interchange is a big priority," Spering said. "MTC and CalTrans have designated it as a high priority already."
Additionally, Halls said, rejection of Proposition 90 on election day was also a plus.
"It would have added cost and time to a lot of transportation projects," he said, noting the additional requirements that would have been placed on eminent domain and property rights, had it passed.
If anything, Halls said, the additional funds that are on the horizon are a huge step forward in terms of funding the county's recently-approved regional transportation priority projects.
It will help the agency meet its matching fund requirements for projects for which local cities are expected to pay half the cost.
This includes improvements to the Vanden Road segment of the Jepson Parkway, from near Peabody Road to Leisure Town Road between Vacaville and Fairfield.
"We don't want to lose our focus on the big stuff, but we want to deliver some of the smaller stuff," Halls said.
Erin Pursell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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