Saturday, February 17, 2007

STA determines priority projects

STA determines priority projects
By Erin Pursell/Staff Writer

Article Launched:02/15/2007 06:52:19 AM PST

The Solano Transportation Authority established priorities Wednesday for spending $17 million on upcoming highway, reliever route and transit projects throughout the county.

The funds are the first chunk of $45 million in State Transportation Improvement Project dollars that the STA expects will be allocated through 2010.

The priorities for the $17 million:

• planning, programming and monitoring activities for fiscal year 2007-08 through fiscal year 2010-11 - $2.8 million;

• designs for the Highway 12 Jameson Canyon project - $7 million;

• projects along Jepson Parkway, from Suisun City to Fairfield and into Vacaville - $1.8 million;

• environmental review for the Dixon Transit Center - $1.3 million;

• construction of a Vallejo Ferry maintenance station - $2 million;

• construction of the Fairfield-Vacaville train station - $2 million.

"We're looking at putting a pretty substantial investment on Jameson Canyon," said Janet Adams, STA director of projects.

The $7 million programmed for the Highway 12 Jameson Canyon project will be the first time the STA Board has committed funds to the project and it is important in terms of demonstrating Solano's commitment to improving the highway corridor, she explained.

Since both the 2008 and 2010 State Transportation Improvement Project cycle financial outlook was determined in October, STA held several workshops to con-sider various options for the funds before whittling down the list to its current six projects.

Other projects that did not make the final list will be considered for future STIP funding, according to STA staff.

Based on the way Solano historically has been allocated STIP funds, STA staff predicts that during the two upcoming funding cycles - through 2010 - there will be a total of about $28 million available.

And due to the infrastructure bonds passed in November, the county should receive additional STIP dollars.

Solano relies heavily on limited state and federal funding to make these kinds of critical transportation improvements, in part because there is no local sales tax for transportation, STA Executive Director Daryl Halls has said.

While these funds will pay a significant portion of local STIP projects, the rest will be paid through a combination of regional and local funds.

In other local transportation news, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, D-Solano, has joined her Bay Area colleagues in writing a letter to the California Transportation Commission, urging more funding for Bay Area transportation projects.

The letter highlights California voters' passage of Proposition 1B last November, and notes that of the $4.5 billion provided in the bond for corridor mobility, $1.8 billion - or 40 percent of the total amount - will be made available to projects in Northern California, although the Bay Area experiences the most congestion.

Tauscher, the Bay Area's senior member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, noted in a prepared statement that "our region contributes over 25 percent of the state's GDP and over 33 percent of the General Fund revenues. It's only fair that a major allocation of Northern California's share of the bond funds be primarily used to reduce congestion in our area."

Erin Pursell can be reached at

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