Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Solano County planners to discuss Highway 12 economic analysis

By Sarah Rohrs/Times-Herald staff writer /
Posted: 07/10/2012 01:00:51 AM PDT

A new study leaves little doubt that Highway 12 improvements could drive a significant economic engine for communities along the corridor.

The Solano Transportation Authority commissioned the Solano Economic Development Corporation (SEDCORP) to examine various improvement scenarios along Highway 12 and their impacts on local economies.

The Solano Transportation Authority board will discuss a draft of the report beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Suisun City Hall, 701 Civic Center Drive.

A main objective is to take an innovative approach to planning highway improvements, SEDCORP President Sandy Person said.

In usual circumstances, an economic analysis is done after a project has been developed, Person said. The report attempts to look at economic improvements before a project has been developed, she added.

"This gives us a head start on goals-setting and land-use planning and other steps," she said.

Currently, the Highway 12 corridor -- from the Lodi airport to Highway 29 in Vallejo -- represents $10.7 billion in revenues to all businesses, households and governments, according to the report's draft summary.

Even minimum improvements to Highway 12 -- many which are being done now for safety reasons -- will boost the region's employment, revenues and worker income, according to the summary.

More extensive improvements, such as wider shoulders, more passing lanes and better intersections, would bolster economic benefits even more.

The maximum improvement scenario looks at economic impacts by widening the corridor to a four-lane divided highway with significant intersection improvements.

This latter scenario would create 7,609 new jobs, result in more housing, and increase sales and property taxes by $42.2 million, according to the summary.

Numerous Solano communities are grappling with the need for greater Highway 12 improvements, Solano Transportation Authority Director of Planning Robert Macaulay said.

Some of those include safer and wider shoulders east of Rio Vista, a new intersection at Bird's Landing, and replacement of the Rio Vista Bridge. No funding has been found for any of these projects.

Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at or (707) 553-6832. Follow her on Twitter @SarahVTH.