The Council of San Benito County Governments (COG) Board of Directors on Feb. 18 unanimously approved an agreement with Caltrans to begin the environmental permit-seeking phase for the Highway 25 widening project. The approval was granted pending legal counsel’s review of the agreement.
The agreement is for the first phase of the $241 million widening project—expanding the two-lane highway into a four-lane expressway from San Felipe Road to the Highway 25/156 intersection. The entire project will go to the Santa Clara County line. It outlines the responsibilities and roles of COG and Caltrans in regards to the project, which includes the local transportation agency paying 50% of the estimated $10 million costs for the environmental work.
COG is expected to pay $100,000 as a deposit to Caltrans for the environmental phase.
The work includes obtaining permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and several from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Caltrans is responsible for obtaining the permits.
COG will fund the project through the county’s Measure G, a 30-year, 1% sales tax increase approved by voters in November 2018. It’s expected to generate $16 million annually for a total of $480 million.
Measure G funds are broken into three tiers, with $242 million going toward the Highway 25 widening project in Tier 1; $216 million for local streets and road maintenance in Tier 2; and $27 million for other projects such as planning and pedestrian/bicycle safety in Tier 3.
According to the agreement, Caltrans submitted the project initiation document in 2005, adopted a route and completed the environmental impact report in 2016.
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