By Thea Skinner
Triplicate staff writer
The Del Norte Local Transportation Commission will consider the 2007 Regional Transportation Plan Update Thursday.
"The plan deals with two out of the big five" of "has199.com," Commissioner Mike Sullivan said.
Has199.com stands for harbor, airport, sewer, U.S. Hwys. 199/197 road access, and broadband/telecommunication the highest priority projects in the community.
"It is a blueprint plan and is implemented through overall work programs and state transportation improvement programs," said Mark Wall, transit manager for Redwood Coast Transit Authority. "From my perspective the vision is to have good linkages to the rest of the state and Oregon."
The document addresses such services as bus and bike transit.
"We are looking at extending (transit service) to possibly Grants Pass (Ore.)," Wall said. "We are looking at replacement of buses and placing bus shelters."
The Smith River route will begin services on July 1.
"That service and Hwy. 199 is about all that Crescent City can support," Wall said.
In the year ahead, the commission and the authority will consider interlining with other bus companies, Wall said.
Sullivan wants to see a route from Crescent City to Oregon along Hwy. 199.
"I think we have enough residents in the county to do this," he said. "We need to get them (private businesses) back into the community.
"Greyhound pulled out. Just because they pulled out does not mean the needs stop."
Wall said, "There is an Amtrak bus service aligning going to Arcata. If you want to get on an Amtrak bus, they cannot sell you a ticket. If Amtrack operates in Crescent City you would get a ticket."
The expansion of the airport also is outlined in the plan.
"Enplanements (people that board an airplane) are up 18 percent at the airport," Sullivan said. "We have to continue to expand that airport. We are one of the last Northern California communities to get subsidized non-commercial service" funding for the airport.
Sullivan believes that the more the airport is used the better the service will get.
"We would like to get to a point were we do not need these funds, so we need to get our enplanements up."
Though a transportation plan, it also mentions broadband services.
"By the end of this year Charter is to run full broadband," Sullivan said.
We are progressing further along than anticipated, he said.
The issue is redundancy if one data line is cut another line should be available for use, he said.
Teletransportation involving real-time communication through broadband services is in the plan, Sullivan said.
Teletransportation is used in telemedicine to diagnose and treat patients in rural areas using X-ray or television pictures transmitted over long distances, sometimes by satellite.
"Instead of making a trip to a medical specialist, it is done through video," he said. "People can literally live in Del Norte County and still get the same services. To be able to have video conferencing rather than travel to a meeting is important."
Telemedicine has been used in the U.S. medical field to transfer information to other countries.
The short-term and long-term parts of the plan are really interconnected, not like other businesses or commissions, Sullivan said.
"The long-term is the accessibility for movement of people and goods," he said. "Everyone in the county has made a five year commitment.
"I think we are all also state representatives focused. We have got to get Hwy. 199 fixed," Sullivan said.
Improvements on Hwy. 199 will ripple through the local economy.
"The profitability of businesses will go up. It is a key component," he said.
Transportation commissioner Mike Scavuzzo thinks differently about Hwy. 199.
"Hwy. 199 is a state highway. It is the state's responsibility and job to maintain these highways," he said. "We will have to take away from something else to fix the local roads."
Scavuzzo wants to ensure allocations are fairly distributed.
"If you do not speak up you do not get funds," he said. "The person who does the most squeaking gets the most grease. I guess we have to shout a bit longer and get money here," Scavuzzo said.
However, Wall said, "In a smaller community without a lot of money, you have to take these things one step at a time and have a goal in mind."
If you go
What: Del Norte Local Transportation Commission meeting
When: 1:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Del Norte County Board of Supervisors Chambers, Flynn Administrative Center
Online: View the 2007 Regional Transportation Plan Update at www.dnltc.org