25 Jan Jon Cartu Imply: Plan, fund, build – Monterey Herald
From pothole repairs in local cities funded by Measure X dollars to significant progress on the Monterey County Rail Extension Project currently underway in Salinas to bring more passenger rail service to our region, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County has been hard at work to advance transportation projects and programs in our community.
We continued to leverage Measure X dollars for additional state funding last year, securing more than $42 million in additional competitive state grants for the following projects:
- Marina-Salinas Corridor Project which will start construction early next year and will be the first regional Measure X project to be completed since voters approved Measure X in 2016.
- Salinas Rail project, which has dramatically changed the landscape in downtown Salinas as construction crews work on the improvements and the extension of Lincoln Avenue to provide better access to the Salinas Train Station.
- Safe Routes to School Programs that will provide safety and educational programs in 10 disadvantaged communities in North County, Monterey Peninsula and the Salinas Valley.
- Fort Ord Regional Trail and Greenway project which will connect communities in and around the former Fort Ord to each other and to education, employment, community and recreation centers. The first section of the project is fully-funded and construction begins in 2022.
The other benefits of Measure X can be seen, as cities across the county utilized the recently implemented “Pavement Management Program” to manage their streets and enhance safety features for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Measure X Citizens Oversight Committee continues to be actively engaged in their duties to ensure that Measure X funds are spent according to the terms of the Investment Plan. Their first Measure X Annual Audit and Compliance Report was released this year. Work on the second audit has begun and you can expect to see their report in TAMC’s Annual Report this spring.
In the next years, we will see progress on major projects on Highways 1, 68, 101 & 156:
- Highway 1 Rapid Bus Corridor: Monterey-Salinas Transit has initiated the preliminary work on this project to develop a dedicated busway utilizing the Monterey Branch Line right-of-way between Marina and Sand City to reduce congestion on Highway 1. Construction of the project’s first segment is targeted to begin in 2022.
- Highway 68: Currently in the environmental phase, this project is partially funded with a mix of state funding and Measure X. If successful in securing additional funding, this high priority regional project could begin construction on its first segment by 2026.
- Highway 101 South of Salinas: The Transportation Agency is working with Caltrans to look at safety and congestion improvements that will eliminate injuries and fatal crashes along this congested and critical agricultural route. Construction of initial improvements could start in 2024.
- Highway 156/Castroville Boulevard Interchange: TAMC is working through the design process with Caltrans. The Agency will be seeking additional state funds to match Measure X funds to build this new interchange. If successful, construction could begin in 2023.
As I close out the remainder of my term as Board Chair, I am proud to note that our Agency has evolved over the decades from one that only focused on highways to one that also focuses on how to make it safer and more efficient for everyone, no matter what type of transportation they use or where they live. Doing so supports mobility of all modes, social equity and safety throughout Monterey County.
As I hand over the gavel to new incoming Chair Luis Alejo, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County remains committed in 2020 to bring people and resources together to plan, fund and build transportation projects and programs that improve safety, reduces congestion and improves the quality of life in Monterey County.
Robert Huitt is the Mayor pro tem of Pacific Grove and outgoing chair of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County Board of Directors