Last month, The California Transportation Commission announced the disbursement of hundreds of millions of dollars for a variety of transportation improvement projects across the state. A significant portion of the funding comes from Senate Bill 1, the landmark 2017 law that earmarked $54 billion to be spent over 10 years to fix California’s roads, freeways and bridges.
While San Benito County did not receive any additional funding from the $200 million allocation earmarked for the State Highways Operations and Protections Program (SHOPP), there are a number of SB 1-funded projects underway in the county.
According to the official website detailing how funds from SB 1 are being spent, a $356,000 drainage project to repair and replace culverts along State Route 25 from south of San Benito River to south of Murphy Road in the town of Paicines in San Benito County is in the pre-construction phase.
Additionally, a $5.5 million project aimed at improving state highways across Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and San Benito counties is in the pre-construction stage. The project will affect Highway 101 at the Highway 156 turnoff in San Benito County, and Highway 156 from the 156/101 turnoff to west of Road Q.
Smaller SHOPP projects in years past have included the realignment of roadways, replacement of joint seals and roadway barriers, and the installation of advance curve warning signs.
San Benito County did not receive any funds from the $42 million allocated to the Active Transportation Program, which is “a competitive grant program that the local agencies must individually apply for those funds,” said Veronica Lezama, transportation planner for the Council of San Benito County Governments. The program is geared toward fixing pedestrian and biking transportation corridors. The county did not receive any of the $21 million in funding for the Local Partnership Program, which helps fund regional transportation projects spearheaded by local governments.
Nonetheless, local governments will still receive the regular disbursements under the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account for 2019-20, almost $2.4 million collectively. San Juan Bautista will receive $30,783 ($29,626 in 2018-19), Hollister will receive $603,209 ($580,551 in 2018-19) and San Benito County will receive $1,746,141 ($1,680,550 in 2018-19). RMRA funds are intended for “road maintenance, rehabilitation, and critical safety projects on the local streets and roads system,” according to the text of SB 1.
For a full list of transportation projects funded by SB 1, go to http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/map.html.