US Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, touts funding | Local News
U.S. Representative Jackie Speier and San Mateo County transportation officials tout recently passed $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as key to completing future improvement projects transportation in San Mateo County.
“What really excites us is that this particular act that has created a trillion dollars across this country is going to improve people’s travel here in San Mateo County and the Bay Area and is also going to make a great part of those safer areas to drive,” Speier said.
In November, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The $1.2 trillion federal legislation set aside funds to repair roads and bridges while strengthening public transportation infrastructure, with the Bay Area set to receive $4.5 billion. Speier and local transportation officials held a press conference Friday to highlight the bill’s role in improving transportation, noting that the funding would help upgrade the Highway 101 and State Highway 92 interchange in San Mateo and improving SamTrans bus services.
Speier said the funding could be for direct connectors along the Route 101 and State Route 92 interchange so buses and ridesharers can avoid crowded on-ramps and exits. The Direct Connect Highway 101 and State Route 92 Interchange project is underway and entered the project approval and environmental documentation phase in February 2021. Funds could also be used for smaller projects, like widening, realigning, and restripping connections to State Route 92 and Highway 101. The improvements would reduce vehicle congestion and sudden delays on State Route 92 toward Foster City. She noted that 20 bridges in San Mateo County are deficient, meaning they can no longer handle modern traffic jams.
“With the advantage of this trillion dollars, it’s much more likely that these projects will be funded in the future,” Speier said.
Another targeted improvement project is the Route 101 and Woodside Road interchange, built when President Dwight Eisenhower was in office. The often-crowded interchange has been slated for upgrades since 1988. It serves Stanford clinics, Google’s campus, the port of Redwood City, and a future ferry terminal. Redwood City has committed $61 million to the project and wants $50–80 million from the federal government, which Speier is working to secure for Redwood City.
“Improving this particular exchange is truly lifesaving and life-delivering,” Speier said.
SamTrans Chairman of the Board, Peter Ratto, said the federal funding was a game-changer in SamTrans’s commitment to a fully zero-emissions bus fleet by 2038. By changing, SamTrans is reducing its carbon footprint and emissions in low-income communities in San Mateo County. Operating an expanded zero-emissions fleet will require significant investment in existing infrastructure, including funding from non-county taxes. SamTrans’s preliminary estimates for infrastructure investment are nearly $400 million by 2038.
“We hope to use these federal funds to help usher in our new zero-emissions future,” Ratto said.
The San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which administers proceeds from sales tax measures like Measure A, will also benefit from the funds. Speaker Rico Medina, also the mayor of San Bruno, noted the funds could help fund grade separations along the Caltrain corridor, improve cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and create new bike lanes under the interchange. Highway 101/State Route 92. He noted that the law includes competitive grant programs worth $500 million a year that focus on pedestrian safety that the Transportation Authority wants to pursue.
“These federal dollars could help San Mateo County expand our bike network, improve safety and help connections, especially in underserved communities,” Medina said.
The City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, or C/CAG, the county’s transportation agency, hopes federal legislation will fund the managed lanes project north of Interstate 380. It would add a lane for the 101 freeway from the interstate 380 interchange. in south San Francisco to the San Francisco county line. Managed lanes would allow buses, shuttles and carpoolers to use a dedicated lane and reduce reliance on single-occupant vehicles.
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