Commission has $1M to spend locally

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By Thea Skinner

Triplicate staff writer

How the Del Norte Local Commission will use $1 million or more in funds remains uncertain. The agreed to postpone action and put efforts toward preparation for highway improvements.

Commissioners considered updates to several infrastructure issues. With looming safety concerns centered around improving conditions along Hwy. 199 and Hwy. 197, a Transit Emergency Preparedness Plan was also discussed.

The original plan was to send people outside the city for the Transit Emergency Preparedness Training, Commission Director Tamera Buchanan said.

Instead, the first phase of emergency training is occurring this week within the city.

andquot;We have 20 people signed up,andquot; Buchanan said.

The committee will look into a plan to communicate emergency preparedness in coming years.

An Overall Work Program involving the Transit Development Plan, which includes Hwy. 199 and Hwy. 197, was set aside for a year to create a complete report.

The Transportation Commission Staff report states that a Caltrans auditor recommended the one-year hold.

andquot;There may be a call to put together a document for community emergency preparedness and to make functional use of our emergency documents,andquot; Buchanan said.

andquot;We are considering a two-year process that will potentially meet the needs of people (in the community such as the) dial-a-ride serviceandquot; she said.

Commissioner Mike Sullivan said he was excited to hear about the andquot;greatandquot; progress.

andquot;This is going to address the needs of disabled people anywhere from Oregon to Crescent City,andquot; he said.

A feasibility study will determine where the money will go. Such a study could be a population survey that analyzes demographics.

Sullivan noted that Caltrans once said that a questionable bridge on Hwy. 199 was not eligible for funding.

Still, a draft action plan submitted to the commissioners about the two highways' corridors indicates otherwise.

The report states, andquot;Highway Bridge Rehabilitation Replacement Program funding is a potential source.andquot;

The program andquot;was done for local roads not highways,andquot; Hill Darron, Caltrans chief of local assistance and regional planning, said.

Caltrans will re-evaluate the bridge. Although demonstration dollarstechnically called high priority program fundsexist to fund the highway projects, the the one-year period will allow for the re-evaluation.

The commission accepted the to-be-determined corrections to their position that will be reflected as an evolving document.

The commission's position will later go to a Route Review Committee that will meet in August.

The committee will initiate Native American consultation and collaboration for a regional transportation plan.

The plan is 70 percent complete at this time, according to Buchanan.

andquot;Draft documents are coming through at this time,andquot; she said. andquot;City and county has been thoroughly involved and engaged. Because we use 100 percent of our transportation dollars on transportation, we may not need to do this.andquot;

The Yurok Tribe has a tribal commission plan, but Buchanan wants to hear from other tribes as well.

Reach Thea Skinner, at tskinner@triplicate.com .

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Monday December 5, 2016

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