Michael Cabanatuan : mcclatchy – excerpt
Seven Bay Area transportation projects that could untangle congested interchanges, make East Bay BART stations brighter and more comfortable, create better routes for bicyclists and smooth the drive for commuters may be delayed for years, regional transportation officials decided Wednesday.
A committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission reluctantly identified a $71.3 million collection of projects to lose financing for at least five years to cope with a massive cut in state funding blamed on plummeting gas tax revenues and a lethargic Legislature that has failed to heed the governor’s call for a transportation funding fix.
The state Transportation Commission in January slashed $754 million from its five-year budget for projects. The Bay Area’s share of the cuts is projected to be $80 million to $96 million, a huge hit that leaves the region unable to keep pace with its growth and go-go economy. More cuts could be coming. Kenneth Kao, an MTC planner, said the agency will work with state officials to make any cuts above the $71 million.
The list of projects tentatively scratched, putting off their funding until at least 2021, includes:
- A new interchange where Interstate 680 meets Highway 4 in Contra Costa County. The interchange would replace an outdated and overwhelmed cloverleaf design that’s snarled with commuters forced to weave in and out of traffic.
- Improvements to the Highway 101/Highway 92 interchange, another traditional cloverleaf that routinely backs up traffic in San Mateo.
- Brighter, more colorful and more spacious BART stations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. BART plans to upgrade its 1970s-era stations with brighter colors, new lighting, wider concourses and waiting areas and easier access. Station remodeling plans are in progress at the 19th Street Oakland, downtown Berkeley, El Cerrito Del Norte and Concord stations.
- Enhanced access from Oakland to the bike path on the Bay Bridge’s east span. A series of trails and lanes is planned to make it safer and easier for bicyclists to pedal to the popular bridge trail.
- A new bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 at Adobe Creek in Palo Alto, replacing an underpass that’s flooded as much as half of the year.
- A plan to create Jepson Parkway, a north-south thoroughfare between Fairfield and Vacaville, by connecting and widening existing narrow roads.
- Rehabilitation of Airport Boulevard From Highway 29 to the Napa County Airport in southern Napa County. Work would include repairs, repaving and new bike lanes…
Members of the MTC’s programming committee reluctantly approved the list of cuts, which still needs to be ratified by the full commission — but not before expressing their frustration…(more)
Could it be time to listen to the requests from the state’s taxpayers for a change?