UPDATE: After hearing public comment, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) approved $7 million in federal funds for 16 projects Thursday, but not everyone was happy.
"It seems like sustainable transportation items are fighting and not even getting the crumbs that fall off the table,” said one person during the public hearing.
Projects that got the green light include: $950,000 for improvements to the Highway 1 and Highway 9 intersection, where new turn lanes, bike lanes, and shoulders will be built; also $500,000 will be spent to replace a diesel Metro bus.
Twenty-two applications were turned in to the RTC, but the commission says there isn’t enough money to support them all.
“We had $14 million worth of applications come in for a whole variety of projects that need to be done with only $7 million that we actually get to distribute,” said Jimmy Dutra from the RTC. "So a lot of parts in the county and cities, were going to get very little money for the projects that they have put in to."
The money to pay for the projects comes from a federal grant program.
County officials say the Casserly Bridge is in desperate need of improvement. The county’s public works department says the bridge is slowly sinking and actually Vdips when car drives over it.
"We are actively engaged in a design right now. It’s about a $750,000 fix. We have about $130,000. We did apply for grant money through the STBG grant and did not receive it," said John Presleigh, Santa Cruz County’s public works director.
In November, Santa Cruz County voters will decide whether to pass Measure D, a half-cent sales tax which would bring in an additional $500 million for projects like fixing potholes and adding auxiliary lanes to Highway 1 to improve traffic flow.
"The freeway should not be the priority because, once again, the traffic that is going to be using that auxiliary lane is local traffic, so we need to start being more imaginative, more creative in the solutions that we have for local traffic," said Live Oak resident Ernestina Saldana.
“We voted on projects that are going to be realistic so the funding went to projects that are actually going to get done," said Dutra.
Work on the projects is expected to begin within the next year.
ORIGINAL POST: Santa Cruz County has roughly $7 million in federal funds to spend on transportation projects. The County is asking residents how they’d like to see the money spent.
KION’s Brandon Castillo is covering today’s public hearing to find out what people think of various projects proposed by the County’s Regional Transportation Commission.
Proposed projects include pavement repairs, bicycle and sidewalk projects, new Santa Cruz METRO buses, improvements to the Highway 1/9 intersection, environmental review of Highway 1 projects, and traveler assistance programs.
Watch Brandon’s report tonight at 5 and 6 on KION.