Big federal infrastructure law to fill potholes, partially fund larger initiatives
Written by Marc Albert
Potholed pavement along Skaggs Spring-Stewarts Point Rd at the bridge over Haupt Creek. photo credit: (Credit: Marc Albert/KRCB)
Aside from the topline figure, and that it was signed into law, few details have emerged about President Biden's infrastructure bill, approved in early November.
Local transportation officials say some of the money, distributed via complex mathematical formulas, is already on the way. Other money, for thousands of small local jobs, will be noticed by anyone going anywhere, according to John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the regional agency that distributes most federal and state transit funding in the Bay Area.
"That's a really exciting development," Goodwin said, "even if its not super sexy, in terms of a big new project. This is the bread and butter of transportation, every trip that one takes begins and ends on a local street or local road."
Goodwin said rising seas and perpetual congestion have catapulted State highway 37 onto the regional priority list. A number of options, including elevating and widening are being considered.
"It is entirely possible that a preferred alternative for the long term solution, if you will, for highway 37, could be identified by the end of 2022. it is realistic to believe that work could begin in earnest in 2024 or 2025," Goodwin added.
That, could also eventually include a transit option. Extending SMART from Novato to link with Amtrak's San Jose-Sacramento Capitol Corridor route in Suisun has made it to the state rail plan, though that's likely decades away. Heather McKillop is Smart-Rail's chief financial officer. She said the agency is focused on nearer term goals.
"Our commitment is still to go to Cloverdale, but right now our priority is to get to Windsor, that's the next stop. And you have to get there, before you can get further north. We know that different entities are looking at State highway 37, and we have been involved in those conversations as to what that might look like from a transit perspective, but that project is very expensive."
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