Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lobbying Try Launched For Local Funds

Lobbying Try Launched For Local Funds
By Danny Bernardini
Article Launched: 04/01/2008

Local politicians and transportation brass will spend the next two days in Washington, D.C., for an annual meeting with senators and legislators, seeking funding for several transportation projects in Solano County.

The group, including four Solano County mayors, members of the Solano Transportation Authority's Governing Board and federal legislative advocates, will spend today and Wednesday requesting $13.3 million in earmarks.

Harry Price, mayor of Fairfield, said the trip is an important one.

"We hit the ground running tomorrow morning. It's a concentrated effort that happens year after year," Price said soon after landing in Washington. "Every agency in the state is vying for the same dollar. We need to make the case that (Solano County) deserves to move up in the que."

The five projects for which funding is sought:

• Improvements to the North Gate and surrounding roads near Travis Air Force Base as well as an upgrade to the railroad crossing at Canon and Vanden roads. ($5 million)

•Construction of the Fairfield/ Vacaville Intermodal Station, a transit- oriented station at Jepson Parkway and Peabody Road that would provide basic automobile, bus, vanpool, bicycle and pedestrian access for the Capitol Corridor Rail Service. ($2.5 million)

• Construction of phase three of the Vallejo Ferry Maintenance Facility that will be the primary transit terminal in the North Bay supporting bus and ferry transit for 15,000 daily riders by 2010. ($2 million)

•Expansion of alternative fuel use by SolanoExpress by adding one hybrid commuter bus and replacing two diesel burning buses with two hybrid buses. ($2 million)

• Construction of phase one of a bus transfer facility along the Interstate 80 corridor that would include 10 bus bays and 200 automobile parking spaces. ($1.85 million)

Price said the advantage Solano County has is the history of completing large projects soon after being funded. He pointed to the current improvements to Interstate 80 as one example.

"If you appropriate the money, we will have immediate results," Price said. "We're pretty confident. We can deliver the projects, just give us the money."

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