Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Governor Stokes Hope for Interchange Funding

Governor Stokes Hope for Interchange Funding
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Solano County transportation officials left Tuesday's California Transportation commission meeting with hope that the interstates 80 and 680 interchange may yet get state bond money.

Things looked bleak prior to the meeting. CTC staff left interchange renovations off its list of recommended projects.

"My sense in that list is not final," Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls said after the CTC hearing.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is among those who want the commission to add projects to the list, Halls said. Schwarzenegger expressed his wishes in a letter and mentioned the interchange as among the worthy additions.

CTC staff recommended immediately spending only $2.8 billion of the $4.5 billion available for congestion relief, with the rest to be spent later. Schwarzenegger and others are urging the commission to award the full amount.

The commission is scheduled to award the state bond money on Feb. 28.

Solano County wants $150 million for the interchange, which is the county's biggest freeway bottleneck. That would help pay for an initial phase involving the connectors between the freeways.

No matter what happens, the county should see some bond money. CTC staff is recommending that $74 million go toward widening Highway 12 in Jameson Canyon. This stretch of two-lane road is a major link between Solano and Napa counties.

The $4.5 billion for congestion relief projects comes from a $20 billion transportation bond passed by voters in November 2006.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, ext. 232 or

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