OAKLAND, CA — Fourteen Northern California freight projects have been recommended to receive $825 million in funding by the staff of the California Transportation Commission (CTC). The recommended projects are competing for more than $2 billion in statewide Trade Corridor Improvement Fund (TCIF) dollars, one of the funding programs created by voter approval of the $20 billion Proposition 1B transportation bond in November 2006. TCIF-funded projects are aimed at improving the goods-movement infrastructure in California.
The TCIF funding recommendations will be presented to the California Transportation Commission at its meeting in Sacramento today. The CTC will adopt a final program at a meeting on April 9 and April 10, also in Sacramento.
Of the 14 Northern California goods-movement projects recommended for funding by the CTC staff, six are from the Bay Area and were submitted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). These six projects — including 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 — are being recommended for $544 million in TCIF funding. (A complete list of projects recommended for TCIF funding by the CTC staff is available on the CTC Web site at: www.catc.ca.gov.)
“We are pleased that the CTC staff has looked favorably on the Northern California freight project list,” said Alameda County Supervisor and MTC Vice Chair Scott Haggerty. Unlike other transportation programs, Haggerty noted, Proposition 1B did not mandate specific funding allocations between Southern and Northern California. “So, in order to compete effectively with Southern California, MTC partnered with the Central Valley and Sacramento regions to come up with a comprehensive Northern California trade strategy and program. The CTC staff recommendations are in part a validation of this cooperative, regional approach,” said Haggerty. 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.
The projects put forward by the partners consisted of investments in rail and highway infrastructure providing access to the Port of Oakland and other ports serving Northern California trade corridors. Two major trade corridors 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.”
A critical trade project along the Altamont Corridor is the addition of a truck climbing lane to eastbound Interstate 580, which will provide major relief at a serious bottleneck. The corridor serves the Tri-Valley area cities of Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, and is one of the most congested freeway locations in the Bay Area. “The geographically challenging 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.
Joe Curley: (510) 817-5847