Sunday, February 04, 2007

Solano likely to benefit by Dems' clout

Solano likely to benefit by Dems' clout
By Erin Pursell/Staff Writer
Article Launched:02/03/2007 07:31:14 AM PST
The Democratic takeover of Congress has the potential to bode well for Solano County transit projects, according to local transportation officials.

The planned Vacaville-Fairfield train station has lost $850,000 - at least temporarily - in the wake of recent slashes in federal funding earmarks that allow lawmakers to put their local projects into spending bills.

But another round of appropriations requests now appears on the horizon.

In regard to that round of requests, Daryl Halls, executive director of the Solano Transportation Authority, said "Ultimately, we think that since we're in a county that has two Democrats we're going to have a better opportunity. While we could be losing that specific earmark, there will be another round of requests and we could potentially get more."

The train station, which will be located at the intersection of Peabody Road and Jepson Parkway in Fairfield, as well as planned renovations to the Vallejo ferry maintenance facility are Solano's two countywide appropriations priorities, according to Halls.

Plans for the ferry facility likely will be hit to the tune of $1.75 million.

Congressman George Miller, D-Solano, and Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, D-Solano, each have made appropriations requests for the projects for the last several years and hopefully will continue to do so, Halls said.

Congressman Dan Lungren, R-Solano, in the past has put in smaller requests for projects including signage on Highway 12 and design money for the truck scales on Interstate 80 in Cordelia.

The changes in nationwide earmarks came Wednesday as the House of Representatives passed a new $463.5 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began in October 2006. The plan still needs approval from the U.S. Senate.

STA has already put in new appropriations requests to Miller and Tauscher, including $2.7 million for the ferry maintenance facility and $2 million for the train station, both for fiscal year 2008.

"We've responded to Miller and Tauscher, but it doesn't necessarily mean the money's there," Halls said.

Erin Pursell can be reached at

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