225 California transportation projects in trouble

By Gary Richards : contracostatimes – excerpt

Californians are paying less in gas taxes, and much less at the pump, as oil prices have plummeted. While that may pad drivers’ wallets, the result could be what officials are calling a “catastrophic” impact on the Golden State’s highways and city streets.

The combined loss in state transportation revenue — more than $1.1 billion — has put high-profile improvement projects at risk of being canceled or facing delays that could stretch for years.

About 225 shovel-ready transportation projects across the state are threatened this year, including the Interstate 680-Highway 4 widening near Antioch, the Willow Road-Highway 101 upgrade in Menlo Park and the planned Highway 1 widening in Santa Cruz…

Caltrain electrification hits funding snag: Sale of high-speed rail bonds delayed, could affect local improvements

…Caltrain CEO Jim Hartnett said the state and High-Speed Rail Authority are not on track on selling part of the nearly $10 billion in bonds this spring, which could have put $600 million in the hands of locals as early as July…

Big projects will be pushed back, but everybody is going to feel this, especially when the big potholes in front your house don’t get filled.”

Why is the state in this predicament?

Unlike past funding cuts, local agencies are being warned that some work will be canceled and not just delayed.

Soon there will be a pilot program to charge volunteer drivers by the number of miles they travel instead of taxing their gas purchases. But it could be years before it begins to raise significant dollars... (more)

How are they going to do this?



Poets Plaza Debate Continues: To Close Vallejo Or Not?

by Geri Koeppel : hoodline – excerpt

At a meeting on Thursday evening, North Beach and Telegraph Hill residents peppered public agencies with their questions and concerns about Piazza Saint Francis, the Poets Plaza, which is being proposed for the 600 block of Vallejo between Columbus and Grant avenues.

The crux of the argument, which has gone on for several months, remains whether that block of Vallejo should be permanently closed, or whether at least some traffic should be allowed to flow… (more)