Tuesday, January 16, 2007

STA whittles down list of transportation priorities

STA whittles down list of priorities

By Erin Pursell//Staff Writer

Article Launched: 01/15/2007 06:17:07 AM PST

The Solano Transportation Authority is closer to programming highway, reliever routes and transit projects that will receive an upcoming $17 million in state funding.

During an update Wednesday regarding Solano's priorities for State Transportation Improvement Project funding, the STA board considered options for the first chunk of the $46 million that officials expect the county will receive through 2010.

"We've now whittled it down to a smaller list," said Daryl Halls, STA executive director.

The board already has approved a two-tiered list of projects that will be eligible for the STIP funds, including:

• environmental review and design for local Interstate 80 High Occupancy Vehicle lanes;

• environmental review and design for a Highway 12 Jameson Canyon project;

• preliminary engineering and environmental review for the Dixon Multi-Modal Transportation center;

• construction of the Vallejo Ferry Maintenance Station;

• construction of projects along the Jepson Parkway, extending from Suisun City to Fairfield and into Vacaville; and,

• construction of a Fairfield-Vacaville train station.

The STA board will select some combination - to total $17 million - of the projects in February, after which the list will be forwarded to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Halls said.

"It's 95 percent sure it's going to happen and then the money becomes available in future years," he said, regarding whether the projects definitely will secure funding through the process.

In the meantime, STA will continue this month to lay out details of each of the projects. The state dollars cover a significant portion of estimated costs, while the remainder is paid through a combination of regional and local funds, as dictated by STA policy.

Projects that do not make it onto the most immediate list can still be programmed for STIP funding in the fall - when the next $14 million becomes available - or for future funding cycles, Halls added.

Many of these and other recommendations for transportation improvements throughout the county were identified in the 2004 I-80, I-680 and I-780 Major Investment Study and the 2001 Highway 12 Major Investment Study.

In other action, the STA board elected Vallejo Mayor Anthony Intintoli to serve as chairman and Benicia Mayor Steve Messina to serve as vice chairman.

Erin Pursell can be reached at county@thereporter.com.

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