The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) recently announced $287 million in newly funded transportation projects that will help shape the future of one of the fastest growing counties in the United States.
According to reporting by the Southern California Partnership for Jobs the majority of the funds, $218 million, were awarded under SB 1: The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, also known as the ‘gas tax.’ The remaining funds, $69 million, were secured under the 2018 Transit and Intercity Rail Program (TIRCP).
“We were very successful in securing funding for projects that will increase mobility and improve the quality of life throughout San Bernardino County,” said SBCTA executive director Dr. Raymond Wolfe.
Highway projects include: the Interstate 10 Corridor Project, which is receiving $118 million in SB 1 funds; and the widening of Highway 395, which is getting $24 million under SB 1.
The I-10 Corridor Project will use new express lanes to provide congestion relief and offer reliable commute times. The I-10 freeway is a critical transportation corridor through San Bernardino County and a major trucking route for goods movement between Southern California and the rest of the country.
Transit projects i n c l u d e : t h e Redlands Passenger Rail Project (RPRP), which is receiving $106 million — $76 million in SB 1 grants and $30 million through TIRCP; and the extension of the Metro Gold Line service from Claremont to Montclair, which has been allocated $39 million in TIRCP funds.
The RPRP regional rail project, operating under the name Arrow, will connect the East Valley with the wider Metrolink system to provide an environmentally-friendly and costefficient transit service to thousands of commuters. Among the innovations Arrow will eventually incorporate are Zero Emission Multi Unit (ZEMU) trains — the first of their kind in North America, establishing San Bernardino County as a national leader in alternative transportation technology.
U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar, who represents California’s 31st District, applauded SBCTA for its success in pursuing state funds available from programs such as SB 1 and TIRCP. Aguilar stressed the importance of this self-help strategy to complete transportation projects, while cautioning that the Highway Trust Fund — funded by the federal gas tax — isn’t keeping pace with the rapidly growing need for infrastructure maintenance and improvements.
$200M in SB 1 Funds added to $47M I-5 Grant
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has received a $47 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to address Interstate 5’s chronic congestion in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The new federal grant adds to Metro’s own locally generated funding. Metro is contributing over $250 million to the project from local sales tax dollars raised through Measure M. Metro’s funding will also be matched with more than $200 million in SB 1 gas tax funds approved by California voters in 2017. Improvements will help alleviate the chokepoint on this congested freeway corridor, increase capacity and improve goods movement via freight trucks.
“This project is an excellent example of what happens when local, state and federal governments step up together to fund critically needed transportation improvements,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington.
Funds were awarded under the Interstate 5 Golden State Chokepoint Relief Program and will go toward extending High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes by 13.4 miles and creating eight miles of truck lanes.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the highly competitive federal INFRA grant program provides dedicated, discretionary funding for projects that address critical issues facing our nation’s highways and bridges.