MTC Steps Up to Save Construction Projects | News

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MTC Steps Up to Save Construction Projects

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Update: May 2009
The state of California successfully sold an additional $6.9 million worth of General Obligation bonds to support various statewide bond-funded projects on April 22. This is in addition to the successful GO bond sale in March. With the additional bond proceeds, the state is looking at additional projects on hold that can now be funded with Proposition 1B bond funds. The State Treasurer's Office is reviewing the eligibility and prioritization of projects on hold.

Among the Bay Area projects on hold now being considered for bond funding include HOV lane improvements to US-101 in Rohnert Park, Sonoma County ($90 million in bond funds), and improvements to the interchange connector from I-580 to US-101 in Marin County ($15 million in bond funds).

The list of projects statewide currently being considered is available online.

Update: March 27, 2009 
Due to MTC/BATA's successful purchase of state private-placement bonds in recent weeks, local authorities were able to continue construction on 10 Bay Area roadway projects that had been targeted for a halt in work due to lack of funding. The transaction essentially loans the state money to continue work on the projects. Additionally, the $194 million in bonds purchased by MTC/BATA enabled the award of one new project, US-101 high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes (Wilfred segment) in Sonoma County. Even with MTC/BATA's commitment, about $500 million in state funds may still be in jeopardy. The region is considering using federal economic stimulus funds to backfill state bond funds in order to begin construction on some of the at-risk projects. Additionally, the state just completed a successful bond sale on March 24, which could mean additional bond funds for projects. A clearer picture of which bond-funded projects can proceed will develop in the next month as MTC programs additional stimulus funds and the state Pooled Money Investment Board meets to allocate bond proceeds to projects. See the map in the box to the right for the affected projects.

Update: January 28, 2009
At its regular monthly meeting today, MTC authorized the purchase of $200 million in state bonds to support ongoing Bay Area freeway projects that otherwise were slated to be halted due to the suspension of state funding. Essentially, MTC will be loaning the funds to the state, which in turn will use the money to continue work on the projects. The six projects benefiting from the funds are:

  • Installation of traffic detection devices along various freeways
  • Interstate 80 high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in Solano County
  • Interstate 580 eastbound HOV lane project in Alameda County, segment 1
  • Interstate 680 Sunol Grade southbound HOV lane in Alameda County, segment 1
  • U.S. 101 HOV lanes (both directions) in Sonoma County between Santa Rosa and Windsor (north segment)
  • Interstate 680 Sunol Grade HOV southbound lane in Alameda County, phase 3 (to convert it to a high-occupancy toll lane)

The infusion of bond funding also will allow for contracts to be awarded for three other projects with opened bids and now ready for construction:

  • Interstate 680 Sunol Grade HOV southbound in Alameda County, segments 2 & 3
  • U.S. 101 HOV lanes in Sonoma County (Wilfred segment)

Today's action will save Bay Area jobs by ensuring that carpool lane projects in Alameda, Sonoma and Solano projects can be completed. MTC will work with the State Treasurer's Office and Caltrans to finalize the deal. For more information, please refer to the Commission memo in the yellow box.

State Grants Temporary Funding Reprieve for Select Projects

Update: January 20, 2009
California's transportation bond funding spigot -- turned to the "off" position in recent weeks by the state budget crisis -- got twisted slightly toward the "on" position this past Friday (January 16, 2009), at least temporarily.The state's Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB) agreed to release $650 million in bond money statewide, including about $103 million to allow work to continue on certain Caltrans projects. In a related development on Friday, the state Department of Finance proposed that 276 of some 5,600 projects on hold statewide be considered for an exemption from the loan disbursement freeze, reasoning that ceasing work would be more expensive than continuing with it.

Bay Area Transportation Projects at Risk Due to Suspension of Proposition 1B Bond Funds

Update: January 15, 2009 
On January 14, 2009, MTC's Programming and Allocations Committee (PAC) met to evaluate the state's decision to halt the flow of bond funding to infrastructure projects in the Bay Area and elsewhere in California. This suspension freezes roughly $1 billion in bond funds to over 90 projects in the Bay Area. Potential concepts to address the situation are included in the PAC memo dated January 14, 2009 (see memo to the right). The state's Pooled Money Investment Board (PMIB) is scheduled to meet again on Friday, January 16, 2009, to consider whether to permit a limited number of reimbursements to take place for projects already under construction.

Background: In December 2008, due to California's current budget crisis and lack of demand in the municipal bond markets, the PMIB voted to suspend some $3.8 billion in loans to infrastructure projects around the state, including scores of road, highway and transit improvements around the Bay Area. A complete list of Bay Area transportation projects affected by the vote can be found below.

Passed by California voters in November 2006, Proposition 1B authorized the state to sell $19.9 billion in general obligation bonds to fund state and local transportation improvement projects to relieve congestion, improve movement of goods, improve air quality, and enhance safety and security of the transportation system.

Bay Area Transportation Projects Affected by PMIA (Pooled Money Investment Account) Suspension

(all figures in millions) 
Revised 1-7-09

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