The California Department of Transportation District 11 annual media update on March 3 included a map of transportation projects and studies being undertaken by Caltrans, and the work includes a Project Initiation Document (PID) for the widening of Highway 67 between Lakeside and Ramona.
The document is currently being circulated internally within Caltrans. Upon Caltrans approval, it will be released for public review.
The Highway 67 project would widen the road from two lanes to four lanes between Mapleview Street in Lakeside and Dye Road in Ramona. In 2007, when the San Diego Association of Governments (Sandag) approved its most recent Regional Transportation Plan, the project had an estimated cost of $400 million.
Highway 67 widening is included in the TransNet program funded by the half-cent sales tax increase and is in the reasonably expected revenue scenario of Sandag’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), although not in the revenue-constrained plan of the RTP. The RTP covers highway, transit, and other transportation items through the year 2030 and is next scheduled to be updated in 2011.
During the media update, Sandag Executive Director Gary Gallegos noted that TransNet sales tax revenues were down approximately 4 percent and that the economy had also reduced construction costs by approximately the same amount. “We’re kind of neutral there,” he said.
In January, the Sandag board voted to stave off the possibility of a shutdown of existing highway projects due to lack of state funding by providing TransNet funding for state bond revenue, which will eventually backfill the TransNet expenditures. The security, equipment movement, and worker retraining costs of a shutdown would have cost Sandag money without contributing to the progress of those projects.
“We’re still cautiously optimistic,” Gallegos said. “The state still has to get back into the financial market and see if they can sell bonds.”
Gallegos expects the San Diego region to receive approximately $200 million from the federal economic stimulus package, and additional highway funding may be provided when Congress renews the federal transportation bill, which expires on Sept. 30.