Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Transit Requests Received

Transit Requests Received
By Danny Bernardini & Jennifer Gentile/Staff Writers

Funding requests for $14.5 million in transportation projects were submitted to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., by local officials on a lobbying trip during the last few days.

The requests were compiled by the Solano Transportation Authority and STA Executive Director Daryl Halls deemed the trip productive.

"The good news is all five projects have been submitted," Halls said in a phone call from the nation's capital. "That is the first hurdle in the process."

The most money being requested is $6 million to design the relocation of the Cordelia Truck Scales. The movement of these scales is part of the larger project to fix the Interstate 80/I-680/Highway 12 bottleneck that is estimated to cost eventually more than $1 billion.

The group is also seeking $200,000 for traffic safety signs and education on Highway 12 between Interstate 80 and I-5.

Some $3 million to improve the access to Travis Air Force Base is also being requested. The money would go toward the design and construction of both the north and south gates, as well as improvements to the railroad tracks at Cannon and Vanden roads.

Other projects include $3.3 million for a ferry maintenance facility in Vallejo and $2 million for access to the Vacaville-Fairfield Intermodal Station of the Capitol Corridor Intercity Passenger Rail Service, set to open in the summer of 2011. Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine, one of four mayors who made the lobbying trip, said an estimated 200 riders are expected to use the service daily at this station initially. That total is expected to increase to 350 or more daily by 2020.

When the service is available, Augustine said, it would offer commuters an alternative to using Interstate 80.

Since arriving in the nation's capital, Augustine said, local representatives had met with people at Congresswoman Ellen Tausher's office, Congressman George Miller's office, Sen. Barbara Boxer's office, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office, Congressman Dan Lungren's office, and others.

"We've had a very successful schedule, meeting with people and getting the word out," Augustine said. "We've been reiterating the needs we have in Solano County and I feel very positive with the reception we're having."

Aside from the mayors, others on the trip included Sandy Person, vice president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation, Halls and STA Marketing and Legislative Program Manager Jayne Bauer. Augustine said the county's "clear set of priorities" and the unified front presented by local leaders could only help their cause.

"It is pretty unusual to see this kind of cooperation," Augustine said. "There is a camaraderie that exists among us that is pretty self-evident."

Person echoed those sentiments and was happy with what she witnessed.

"It was strong and we carried the message. I've been impressed with the team talking in a unified voice," Person said. "We've got a positive reception, but we've got a big job to do. We have a lot to do; our transportation needs are great."

Danny Bernardini can be reached at Jennifer Gentile can be reached at

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