Thursday, April 12, 2007

Solano States Its Transportation Case

Solano States Its Transportation Case
By Danny Bernardini/Staff Writer

Rio Vista Mayor Eddie Woodruff (left) and Carl Guardino, who was appointed to the California Transportation Commission, discuss Highway 12 during a reception Wednesday for Guardino at the Jelly Belly visitor center in Fairfield. (Brad Zweerink/The Reporter)

Carl Guardino, appointed Wednesday to the California Transportation Commission, rubbed shoulders hours later with Solano leaders who told him about road and transit issues in the county.

Shaking hands at an early evening reception at the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, Guardino mingled with representatives of all seven cities in the county and with Supervisors John Vasquez, Mike Reagan and Jim Spering.

The gathering, at which Guardino addressed the crowd briefly, was sponsored by Solano Economic Development Corporation.

Flanked by those waiting for an introduction, Guardino, of Santa Clara County, was shown maps of the various scenarios involving the Interstate 80/680 interchange, the proposed North Connector for Highway 12 and statistics reflecting the dangers of Highway 12.

Spering spoke highly of Guardino while introducing him, highlighting his work for groups in the Bay Area.

"You have impacted a lot of people in a lot of ways," he told the group.

Guardino, appointed to the state commission earlier in the day in Sacramento, said just a few words, talking about getting to see the problems facing Solano first-hand. He told the group he was open to scheduling trips to the affected areas to further familiarize himself.

"If I'm going to play this role, it is incumbent to get to know the area," he said. "It's worth a thousand words to see it in person. It's worth the commitment."

The reception may have been brief, but Spering said the most important part was getting someone from the state to hear the issues facing the county in person.

"His influence is important to Solano County. His understanding is paramount to these projects," Spering said, while showing Guardino some financial figures.

Helping the cause is the unified effort to get some of the projects funded and constructed. Spering said the combination of the SEDC, the Solano Transportation Authority, city and local governments involved shows unity and a concentrated effort to get things done.

Along with agencies and politicians, Spering said the citizens of these areas are starting to realize how big a problem the issues on the roads have become.

"They're starting to understand transportation touches every aspect of our lives," he said. "If that interchange is dysfunctional, it affects their lives."

He said traffic is just one concern and residents are being affected by other elements such as air quality.

"They are at the tipping point where people will demand something to be done."

Danny Bernardini can be reached at

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