Voter-Approved Bonds to Provide $825 Million for Northern California Freight Projects
OAKLAND, CA — The $3 billion slate of highway, rail and seaport improvements approved for funding today by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) includes $825 million for 14 projects in Northern California. The entire 79-project investment program will be funded through the statewide Trade Corridor Improvement Fund (TCIF), which is aimed at improving California’s goods-movement infrastructure. The TCIF is one of several separate funding programs created by voter approval of the $20 billion Proposition 1B transportation bond in November 2006.
Six of the 14 Northern California goods-movement projects approved by the CTC are in the Bay Area. These include improvements at the Port of Oakland, relocation of the Interstate 80 Cordelia truck scales and the addition of an eastbound truck-climbing lane on Interstate 580 over the Altamont Pass. (A complete list of TCIF projects is available on the CTC Web site at: www.catc.ca.gov.)
“To compete effectively with Southern California,” explained Alameda County Supervisor and MTC Vice Chair Scott Haggerty, “MTC partnered with the Central Valley and Sacramento regions to develop a comprehensive investment program for improving freight movement in Northern California.” Noting that Proposition 1B did not mandate specific funding allocations between Southern and Northern California, Haggerty added, “The CTC’s decision shows the effectiveness of this cooperative, regional approach.”
In addition to MTC, Bay Area members of the Northern California regional partnership included the Port of Oakland, the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency, the Solano Transportation Authority, Caltrans District 4 and representatives of the Bay Area business community. Projects supported by the partners are clustered along the two major trade corridors that run through the Bay Area: the Central Corridor that roughly follows Interstate 80 from the Bay Area through Sacramento to the California/Nevada border and beyond, and the Altamont Corridor, running from the Port of Oakland along Interstates 880/238/580 to the Central Valley.
In the Central Corridor, forecasts call for a considerable increase in tonnage and value of commodities carried by both truck and rail in the next 20 years. Yet, the Cordelia truck scales date from 1958 and are undersized and unable to process existing truck volumes, much less projected volumes. “Inefficiencies at the current facility often result in trucks lining up on the Interstate, causing serious congestion and unsafe conditions in a vital trade and commute corridor,” said Solano County Supervisor and MTC Commissioner Jim Spering. “New, relocated truck scales will improve throughput and safety in the area for trucks and passenger vehicles.”
The addition of a truck-climbing lane to eastbound Interstate 580 over the Altamont Pass is expected to provide significant congestion relief at a serious regional bottleneck. “The Altamont Pass is a major chokepoint for both passenger vehicles and freight as trucks struggle to climb the grade,” noted MTC Commissioner Haggerty. “A truck climbing lane is desperately needed to help alleviate the congestion in this corridor.”
MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency.
John Goodwin: (415) 778-5262/mobile: (415) 778-5262