EVP Newsletter 11-7-16
Highway 37-A LONG AND WINDING ROAD
Last week (Thursday, 11-3-16), I attended another meeting of the “State Route (SR) 37 Policy Committee” held in American Canyon. This Committee is a four County affiliation (Solano, Napa, Marin and Sonoma) with plenty of “heavyweights” on the dais.
Solano Elected Officials on the Committee include Chair Osby Davis (Mayor of Vallejo), Jim Spering (MTC Commissioner), and Erin Hannigan (Solano County Board of Supervisors).
Marin Elected Officials on the Committee include Steve Kinsey (MTC Commissioner), Judy Arnold (Marin County Board of Supervisors), and Stephanie Moulton-Peters (Councilmember from Mill Valley).
Sonoma Elected Officials on the Committee include Vice Chair David Rabbitt (Sonoma County Board of Supervisors), Susan Gorin (Sonoma County Board of Supervisors), and Jake Mackenzie (MTC Commissioner).
Napa Elected Officials on the Committee include Mark Luce (MTC Commissioner), Keith Caldwell (Napa County Board of Supervisors), and Leon Garcia (Mayor of American Canyon).
Other members of the Committee include Daryl Halls (Solano Transportation Authority), Suzanne Smith (Sonoma County Transportation Authority), Dianne Steinhauser (Transportation Authority of Marin), Elizabeth Patterson (Mayor of Benecia), Danielle Schmitz (Napa Valley Transportation Authority), and several others.
A few years ago, UC Davis did a study (funded by a grant from the EPA), to determine the effect of global warming anticipated sea rise on Highway 37. I attended those meetings held at Sonoma Raceway and the direction of Caltrans and others seemed to be to let the Highway 37 get inundated and go underwater and commuters would simply have to figure alternative routes from Marin and Sonoma to Solano and Napa Counties. Fortunately, enough people screamed and alternatives began emerging. One of which, a “Public-Private Partnership” (known by the acronym of P3), emerged with a concept proposal from United Bridge Partners for construction of an elevated roadway funded mostly through tolling.
As you can imagine, the complexity of taking a State owned roadway and possibly making it a privately owned roadway, is daunting. There have been many meetings discussing whether the highway 37 needs to be owned by a private group, a JPA (Joint Powers Authority), or the current State of California. As the meetings progress, it has become clear that Caltrans has no money for the needed construction, and that if anything is going to get done in a conventionally financed State project way, we might be looking at 2034 before construction would begin.
Clearly, there are those on this Committee who find the pain and the suffering of the current traffic congested drivers unacceptable. There is no way many on this Committee would subscribe to a solution that might take 18 years to get to construction. At the next meeting in January, I expect several key decisions will be discussed, and hopefully, some decisions will be made:
- How and when to involve the Public in the process?
- Decide if a toll road is the right way to proceed
- Decide if there is likely to be needed some legislative action to accommodate any solution.
In the meantime, I invite you to read one of the latest articles from Roads and Bridges on this issue by clicking on this link:
In anybody’s estimation, fixing Highway 37 is going to be a journey best described as “A Long And Winding Road”. Will we see it in our lifetime?
To Be Continued—-
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
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