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RTC holds public hearing regarding the use of round two of transportation stimulus funding
The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 4 to discuss how to use $12 million in transportation funding from the state and federal government. “The RTC is eager to use these funds on projects that can be built as soon as possible, especially given unemployment rates in the region and budget cuts facing agencies,” George Dondero, RTC executive director. “The funds will also help address a portion of the huge backlog of transportation needs in the county.” The money Dondero is talking about includes $5.6 million from the second phase of President Barack Obama’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act stimulus package and $5.8 million from the state Regional Transportation Surface Transportation Program. Dondero suggested that the commission vote to withhold $1.8 million of state funds for future regional projects due to the uncertainty of future funding and funding opportunities. RTC staff put the word out to local jurisdictions about the second round of funding and to send in their project proposals. Projects RTC staff recommends the commission fund various road projects around the county, including reconstructing 38th Avenue between Brommer Street and Capitola Road in Capitola; installing roundabouts at Pacific Avenue and Beach Street, as well as at Pacific Avenue at Center Street in Santa Cruz; building a sidewalk and possible bike lane along Whispering Pines in Scotts Valley; repairing Bear Creek Road, Soquel-San Jose Road, Soquel Drive; rehabilitating Green Valley Road in Watsonville and funding the auxiliary lanes project on Highway 1 from Soquel Avenue to Morrissey. Other projects the money could be used for include buying new passenger vans for UC Santa Cruz’s vanpool program, fund the Freeway Service Patrol tow service to broken down motorists on highways 1 and 17; promote the RTC’s Rideshare and Park and Ride programs and various alternative transportation programs by Ecology Action. The commission will meet at the Watsonville City Council Chambers, 275 Main St. in Watsonville.