Wednesday, March 28, 2007

County Leaders Push For Federal Dollars

County Leaders Push For Federal Dollars
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Fairfield Mayor Harry Price and other local leaders spent two days in Washington, D.C., lobbying for more than $14 million in transportation money.

The check isn't in the mail yet for such projects as improving Highway 12 safety, renovating the California Highway Patrol truck scales and building the Fairfield-Vacaville train station, but Price is encouraged.

"I would say the major progress is we stand a very good chance of getting some of those critical earmarks we're requesting," Price said in a phone call from Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

The Solano Transportation Authority contingent has visited staff for various movers and shakers in Congress, including House Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. They spoke to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, and other elected officials.

Local leaders hope to get five Solano County transportation projects included in the next federal budget.

An initial step was making certain that various Congressional representatives are submitting applications for the projects, STA Executive Director Daryl Halls said by phone from Washington, D.C. All five projects have applications, he said.

The House of Representatives is aiming to have an appropriations bill finished by July, Halls said. The Senate usually takes a little longer. Solano County could know in early fall what earmarks it will get, he said.

For the first time, the Solano Economic Development Corp. sent a representative on the annual transportation lobbying trip. Vice President Sandy Person went.

"The major employers of Solano County continue to be concerned with the safety of their workforce, as well as their ability to move their goods," Person said. "The challenges that face us require federal matching funds. They're big fixes."

She stressed the partnership between the public and private sector on transportation. Businesses and industry must participate if the message is to resonate, she said.

Also making the two-day lobbying trip were Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine, Vallejo Mayor Anthony Intintoli, Benicia Mayor Steve Messina, STA Legislative Program Manager Jayne Bauer, Jon Monson of MV Transportation and Mike Miller of the Ferguson Group.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

Solano County priority projects

Solano County transportation

leaders are lobbying to get

these federal dollars:

-$3.3. million to help build a Vallejo ferry maintenance building.

-$2 million to help establish a Fairfield-Vacaville train stop at Peabody and Vanden roads.

-$6 million to help renovate the California Highway Patrol truck scales on Interstate 80 near Cordelia.

-$3 million to help improve rural roads leading to Travis Air Force Base.

-$200,000 for safety signs on Highway 12 between Suisun City and Rio Vista, as well as safety education programs.

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