Friday, June 29, 2012

Highway 12 economic study to be released Thursday in Rio Vista

Highway 12 economic study to be released Thursday in Rio Vista

Times-Herald staff report/
Posted: 06/27/2012 01:01:16 AM PDT

A study that takes a look at Highway 12 improvements from an economic standpoint will be released 6 p.m. Thursday at a workshop in Rio Vista.
The Solano Economic Development Corporation and the Solano Transportation Authority conducted the study.

It is designed to evaluate the potential economic benefits and needs of the corridor from Lodi through Napa, and preliminary results were discussed at a breakfast meeting earlier this year.

The Rio Vista presentation will take place at the D.H. White Elementary School multipurpose room, 500 Elm Way.

Consultant Economist Robert Fountain of Benicia is expected to talk about the economic effects of widening Highway 12 to handle more cars and provide better efficiency.

The corridor in Solano County faces significant challenges, particularly in Rio Vista, where replacement of the Rio Vista Bridge has been identified as a big need.

The current study does not include Vallejo, though the city will see some impacts from Highway 12 improvements, planners have said.

Study shows better Highway 12 would boost economy

Study shows better Highway 12 would boost economy

highway12, 7/20/11
Trucks and other cars travel on Highway 12 outside of Fairfield . (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic file)
From page A3 | June 28, 2012 | Leave Comment
FAIRFIELD — Improving Highway 12 through Solano County and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta should boost regional business activity that already tops $6 billion annually, according to a new study.

How much ranges from 3 percent to 10 percent, depending on the amount of improvements. Widening Highway 12 to four lanes would generate more job and housing growth than a more modest approach of making only safety improvements to two-lane segments of the highway, the study found.

The Solano Economic Development Corp. prepared the draft Highway 12 Corridor Economic Analysis for the Solano Transportation Authority. Robert Fountain of Regional Economic Consulting did the analysis.
Fountain and the Solano EDC will conduct a workshop on the study at 6 p.m. Thursday at D.H. White Elementary School in Rio Vista.

Study findings are just one more factor for local, regional and state officials to consider when planning a future for Highway 12. Others include the cost of the improvements and environmental factors.

“We have a game plan for the Interstate 80 corridor,” Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls said Wednesday. “Highway 12, we’re still having that conversation.”

The draft study begins by looking at existing economic conditions along 52 miles of Highway 12 from Highway 29 in Napa County to east of Interstate 5 near the Lodi airport. It measures economic activity generated by businesses, governments and households within ZIP codes along the highway and comes up with a gross regional product of $6.4 billion.

Manufacturing and food processing is the biggest economic sector. This includes everything from the Budweiser brewery in Fairfield to General Foods in Lodi to wineries to farms. Next comes government employment, which ranges from Travis Air Force Base to Solano County government to schools to the cities of Fairfield, Suisun City, Rio Vista, Isleton and Lodi.

The Highway 12 corridor as measured by the study is home to 161,707 people and 67,145 jobs.

One possibility for the future Highway 12 is to keep it two lanes in rural areas and make improvements only for safety, not capacity. This would add $183 million to the gross regional product, or a 2.9 percent increase, the study estimated. It would add 1,193 jobs and 965 households.

Another possibility is to improve traffic flow on Highway 12 by adding more passing lanes and improving key intersections. This approach adds $332 million in economic activity for a 5.2 percent boost. It adds 2,286 jobs and 1,849 households.

Finally, all of Highway 12 could be widened to four lanes from Suisun City east through the Delta to Interstate 5 near Lodi. This adds $623 million in economic activity for a 9.7 percent boost. It adds 7,609 jobs and 6,154 households, according to the draft study.

The economic study is to go to the Solano Transportation Authority Board of Directors on July 11.
Other, already completed Highway 12 studies look at possible, new Rio Vista Bridge alignments and traffic issues. Solano Transportation Authority Director of Planning Robert Macaulay said the studies are in “silos,” each focusing on their own particular subjects.

“Now we go all into the one big area where we don’t have the walls that divide these studies anymore,” Macaulay said.

That work of synthesizing the various studies will likely take place before the Solano Transportation Authority’s State Route 12 Steering Committee, which has Solano County representatives, and the State Route 12 Corridor Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from other counties as well.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or Follow him on Twitter at

Solano EDC mulls benefits of Highway 12

By Melissa Murphy/
Posted: 06/29/2012 01:07:39 AM PDT

The "lifeblood" that is Highway 12 is under much scrutiny as it is closely evaluated for the potential economic benefits to the region.

Running from Lodi through Solano County to Napa, the highway is a major "vein" of transportation. Major safety improvements have been made along the corridor and possible structural improvements are being studied.

The Solano Economic Development Corporation was hired by the Solano Transportation Authority to complete an economic analysis of the Highway 12 corridor before major studies are completed.

Consultant Robert Fountain with Regional Economics Consulting addressed an audience of about 30 people gathered Thursday night in Rio Vista for a community outreach workshop. The highway runs through the city.

He explained that an analysis like the one conducted by Solano EDC is almost never done.

"This is done in the right order, where the economics is first," he said.

He said the study has already been an eye opener, revealing just how much traffic is on the highway. He said some larger highways in the state see significantly less traffic than the two-lane road.

The study has also shown that, unfortunately, the highway isn't doing much for Rio Vista, as trucks hauling goods pass through the small city without stopping. Instead, the city's revenue is heavily determined by the natural gas industry.

Fountain also noted that the money isn't in agriculture but rather food processing.

"This study is informing you of the economic choices," said Sandy Person, president of Solano EDC. "We're here out of respect to Rio Vista. You've been active and vocal and we want your voices heard throughout this process. The project will be defined by community participation."

Consultants developed three scenarios for consideration:

* Minimum improvement: This scenario includes safety improvements with little capacity enhancement;

* Middle improvement: This scenario includes a slight change in the number of lanes in key traffic areas; and
* Maximum improvement: This scenario is a four-lane divided highway, two lanes on each side with a median and extensive improvements of intersections and access areas.

All scenarios would add to the gross regional product and add to revenues, however, the maximum-improvement scenario would add $622.9 million to the gross regional product and $1.1 billion to the region's revenues.

How the bridge over the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on Highway 12 will improve with the rest of the roadway also is unknown at this point, according to the consultants.

The presentations during the workshop are available online at

Residents are also asked to answer a couple of questions: What are your top priorities for the development of the corridor and Rio Vista and, if the economy expands, what improvements/amenities/investments do you think Rio Vista and/or the state should consider first?

Follow Staff Writer
Melissa Murphy at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Highway 12 Economic Study results to be released

The Comprehensive Highway 12 Economic Study results will be presented by consultant economist Dr. Fountain at a workshop sponsored by the Solano Economic Development Corporation. The results will provide an insight as to what could happen to the Hwy 12 corridor if it were widened to enable more efficient traffic capacity. The workshop will be held at 6:00 PM, on Thursday, June 28th at the D. H. White Elementary School multi-purpose room, 500 Elm Way, Rio Vista Ca 94571.

A copy of Dr. Robert Fountain's report can be found here.