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California Transportation Commission Calls for Applications for Transportation Funding

3:07 PM PDT on March 26, 2020

Highways got a lot of money, other programs got a bit

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At yesterday's California Transportation Commission meeting, held via webinar, the commission ripped through a packed agenda to approve guidelines for several key funding programs, including the Active Transportation Program.

The 2021 ATP will allocate $446 million over four years for projects that encourage safe walking and bicycling. Currently, applications are due on June 15, but that, like so much else, is subject to revision. This round of ATP funding will for the first time include a pilot project to fund "quick-build" infrastructure that can bring immediate safety enhancements at a relatively low price tag.

The CTC also approved guidelines for the 2020 Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, which will receive $1.4 billion over the next three years. These funds go for projects to improve corridors used by freight. New commissioner Joseph Lyou said the state needs to look at how to include funding for electric charging infrastructure along these corridors in this program. Commissioner Fran Inman said it was important, especially now, to keep the freight sector moving.

New guidelines for the 2020 Local Partnership Program were also approved. That program will allocate $600 million over three years as a reward to cities and regions that have passed transportation sales tax measures. Commissioner Lyou had a question about the guidelines. Why, he asked, is "alignment with climate goals" recommended rather than required for projects funded under this program? He suggested staff look at revising that recommendation in the future.

All of these funds receive money from S.B. 1, the gas tax increase passed in 2017. Guidelines for another S.B. 1 program, the Solutions for Congested Corridors, were approved at the January meeting. That program is still accepting applications, with a planned deadline for those of June 30.

At the meeting, the commission also approved $2.6 billion in funding for the 2020 State Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP, which funds a variety of improvements for highways, roads, active transportation, and transit.

The 2020 program includes funding for ongoing projects as well as an additional thirty new projects. These include projects like passing lanes to be added to Route 70 in Yuba County, "managed lanes" along Route 101 in San Mateo County and along Highway 80 in Solano, widening Highway 46 in Kern County and Route 132 in Stanislaus, building an expressway in Merced and widening Highway 5 in Orange County, and express lanes in San Bernardino and San Diego, among others.

Other new projects in the STIP include purchases of zero emission buses, local road rehabilitations, the Link Union Station project in Los Angeles, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements in Shasta County.

The CTC also discussed the 2020 State Highway Operation and Protection Program, which it usually discusses at a separate meeting. That program should include more active transportation project elements, but it's hard to tell how much. More on that tomorrow.

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