2007 Regional Transportation Plan considered by Del Norte Local Transportation Commision

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By Thea Skinner

Triplicate staff writer

The Del Norte Local Transportation Commission will consider the 2007 Regional Transportation Plan Update Thursday.

andquot;The plan deals with two out of the big fiveandquot; of andquot;has199.com,andquot; 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.

andquot;It is a blueprint plan and is implemented through overall work programs and state transportation improvement programs,andquot; said Mark Wall, transit manager for Redwood Coast Transit Authority. andquot;From my perspective the vision is to have good linkages to the rest of the state and Oregon.andquot;

The document addresses such services as bus and bike transit.

andquot;We are looking at extending (transit service) to possibly Grants Pass (Ore.),andquot; Wall said. andquot;We are looking at replacement of buses and placing bus shelters.andquot;

The Smith River route will begin services on July 1.

andquot;That service and Hwy. 199 is about all that Crescent City can support,andquot; 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.

andquot;I think we have enough residents in the county to do this,andquot; he said. andquot;We need to get them (private businesses) back into the community.

andquot;Greyhound pulled out. Just because they pulled out does not mean the needs stop.andquot;

Wall said, andquot;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.andquot;

The expansion of the airport also is outlined in the plan.

andquot;Enplanements (people that board an airplane) are up 18 percent at the airport,andquot; Sullivan said. andquot;We have to continue to expand that airport. We are one of the last Northern California communities to get subsidized non-commercial serviceandquot; funding for the airport.

Sullivan believes that the more the airport is used the better the service will get.

andquot;We would like to get to a point were we do not need these funds, so we need to get our enplanements up.andquot;

Though a transportation plan, it also mentions broadband services.

andquot;By the end of this year Charter is to run full broadband,andquot; 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.

andquot;Instead of making a trip to a medical specialist, it is done through video,andquot; he said. andquot;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.andquot;

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.

andquot;The long-term is the accessibility for movement of people and goods,andquot; he said. andquot;Everyone in the county has made a five year commitment.

andquot;I think we are all - also state representatives - focused. We have got to get Hwy. 199 fixed,andquot; Sullivan said.

Improvements on Hwy. 199 will ripple through the local economy.

andquot;The profitability of businesses will go up. It is a key component,andquot; he said.

Transportation commissioner Mike Scavuzzo thinks differently about Hwy. 199.

andquot;Hwy. 199 is a state highway. It is the state's responsibility and job to maintain these highways,andquot; he said. andquot;We will have to take away from something else to fix the local roads.andquot;

Scavuzzo wants to ensure allocations are fairly distributed.

andquot;If you do not speak up you do not get funds,andquot; he said. andquot;The person who does the most squeaking gets the most grease. I guess we have to shout a bit longer and get money here,andquot; Scavuzzo said.

However, Wall said, andquot;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.andquot;

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

Reach Thea Skinner at tskinner@triplicate.com

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