Transportation Commission make right call on spending
Last week, our Local Transportation Commission made a difficult decision regarding $1 million of unexpected transportation funds. Caltrans District 1's late notification of this fund availability, and an April 2 deadline for submitting the paperwork, necessitated an immediate decision ("No dollars for U.S. 199 enviro study," April 3).
Choosing between two options funding initiation of Caltrans' environmental documentation work for five sites on U.S. Hwy. 199 or approving a recommendation from the LTC's Technical Advisory Committee for funding much-needed repair/upgrade of our deteriorating local road infrastructure commissioners reluctantly concluded that investing in achievable local road projects, with a near-term impact on our daily lives, was a better use for the money.
County Supervisor Mike Sullivan, in strong support of the Hwy. 199 option, made a case for investment in the Caltrans project.Unfortunately, when the Caltrans representative failed to make a convincing argument that "priming the pump" on the Hwy. 199 project had a good chance of "paying off," Sullivan's motion failed for want of a "second" indicating that other commissioners were skeptical of the Caltrans option.
Faced with the urgent need to make a decision, and the understandable reluctance of most commissioners to have their names on a motion for their Technical Advisory Committee's recommendation and against dedicating these particular funds to Hwy. 199, Supervisor McClure finally stepped in to make the necessary motion resulting in a 4-1 vote to approve it.
Undoubtedly, adverse reaction will follow from local economic development "boosters." However, critics should realize that, while the LTC remains committed to Hwy.199 improvement, Caltrans must demonstrate a more effective, imaginative and aggressive approach to earn community support.Energies at this point are better spent on "lighting a fire under" Caltrans, rather than on criticizing LTC commissioners for what was an extremely difficult decision.