November 16, 2017
By: Tammy Murga
With the implementation of the California gas tax, the City of Lakeport is trying to quickly seize the opportunity to finish and resurrect several road projects, according to a report during the City’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) on Monday.
A large sum of the revenue raised will go toward state and local road programs. But the day before gas prices rose at least 12 cents per gallon, some locals at the pump said they either see sluggish or no road improvements.
Community Development Director Kevin Ingram said at the Monday meeting, “There are major trust issues because the state has dedicated these gas taxes to projects like these in previous years. We understand that the public wants to see change and we are trying to make that happen in Lakeport.”
This fiscal year (2017-2018), the city was granted $32,000, an amount that has “gone way down” since the recession, Ingram said. With that, some projects were at risk of not finishing, while others to be left abandoned as solely ideas.
Among those projects was the Safe Routes to School, now dubbed the Hartley Street Active Transportation Planning, which will implement electronic speedometers and sidewalk work. The TSAC shared that in the bill SB1, which raised the gas tax, there is an emphasis on “shovel-ready” projects — projects that are advanced enough to begin construction with sufficient funding. The Hartley Street project faced an uncertain future as completion was too expensive to continue with its original grant funding, but with 90-percent of engineering complete, it qualified under the “shovel-ready” component of SB1.
Ingram said, “The project, between 20th street and the city limits, is estimated to be completed two years earlier than before, from 2021 to 2019.”
Also on the City’s radar ready to continue are the 11th Street corridor and Forbes Street creek neighborhood projects.
Ingram added that the roundabout project for South Main Street and Lakeport Boulevard was one they feared would be terminated out of the City’s agenda entirely due to state budget cuts. However, with the green light on SB1 grants and an estimated full funding of $60,000 to $80,000 for the City, according to Ingram, the project is back on the list. Action on the roundabout is not likely to happen until late 2019 or early 2020, he said.
TSAC will provide updates on these projects at their next meeting in January at City Hall in Lakeport.