Thursday, April 28, 2016

Highway 156 toll road project's state funding slated to be cut

In a second blow this year, the Highway 156 improvement project is facing an additional $9.1 million cut in state transportation funding.
On Wednesday, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County board was told that California Transportation Commission staff are proposing state funding for the project's right of way phase be deleted as part of $754 million in statewide cuts as a result of lower-than-expected gas tax revenue.
The Highway 156 project's design phase would also be delayed, as would several other projects including the proposed Highway 1 operations upgrade, Highway 68 and Corral de Tierra intersection, and Imjin Road improvement.
The latest state funding cutback pushes Monterey County's share to $16 million, following an earlier $7 million cut.
Under the earlier cut, the Highway 156 project had already lost $2 million, and a south county Highway 101 frontage roads project also lost $5 million.
TAMC executive director Debbie Hale told the board staff was furious about getting hit with a second round of state funding cutbacks, and would argue for restoration of the funding in future years.
Hale said the Highway 156 funding would need to be restored "even to make a toll project feasible."
The toll road proposal would allow a private operator to charge drivers a fee to travel on a new four-lane highway between Prunedale and Castroville to pay off the $268 million project cost, including upfront costs.
A traffic and revenue study is currently under way for the project before a private operator is chosen and is expected to be finished by this fall.
Hale said the funding uncertainty underscored the need for passage of a proposed 30-year, 3/8-cent, $600 million transportation sales tax measure on the November ballot, which she said would guarantee local projects a secure source of funding not dependent on outside agencies.

No comments:

Post a Comment