Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Clock ticking on major road projects

james column sig

By
From page A10 | January 20, 2013 | 1 Comment

One of the stark contrasts I have seen between California and Idaho is the speed in which road projects seem to reach completion here in the Gem State compared to the Golden State.

Road and intersection widening projects, complete with new signalization, seem to be done within weeks, not months or years. A major widening of Interstate 84 both in downtown Boise and several miles west in Nampa were completed in less than two years. And an entirely new, very large interchange in Meridian – Ten Mile Road – was built and opened in just more than one year’s time.

Similar projects in California seem to linger for years. Perhaps I was closer to some of the California projects because I worked at the newspaper and we were there at the outset – planning, funding and ultimately, construction.

The real test will come during the next few years because a major north-south expressway through the Treasure Valley has now been proposed. Funding, acquisition of rights of way and construction must follow. It will be interesting to see if this roughly five-mile stretch of highway that will include a Boise River crossing and connect seven cities in three counties will get the necessary funding and be built in the timetable suggested.

Compare that with the rebuilding of the Interstates 80-680 interchange, which has been on the books for at least a decade and is still waiting for some of the funding for the earliest phases – rebuilding the Green Valley interchange and connections to Highway 12/Jameson Canyon. On a positive note, the nearly $100 million truck scales project along I-80 is under construction and should be completed later this year.

It’s anyone’s guess when the major I-80, I-680 interchange will be relocated and built.

No absolute price tag has been placed on the Boise area expressway, but those proposing the project believe it will generate $4.2 billion in positive economic impact over a 25-year span and create more than 30,000 jobs. There is no question that another alternate north-south connector is needed because the major north-south route, Highway 55, is congested with a combination of commuters and shoppers.

Regional planners chose to widen Eagle Road and dubbed it the Highway 55 north-south expressway more than 10 years ago. But so much retail/commercial growth sprang up along the corridor that the early 55-mph speed limit has slowly been replaced with 45 mph and lots of signals and access points. It hardly is an expressway today.

The newly proposed roadway is about five miles west of the Highway 55/Eagle Road route and would connect Interstate 84 to existing Highway 16, which runs north to Emmett. It will cross two state routes that ultimately will link the roads to the cities of Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Middleton and Emmett.

The roadway would traverse mostly open farm land and rights of way could include some pretty wide intersections and limit access points. Proponents do want to avoid some of the pitfalls that have spoiled the Highway 55 express route.

That won’t discourage planners from adding commercial zoning along the route. Part of the huge economic impact is the expectation that growth adjacent to the roadway will indeed pay for the improvements. Population in the region is expected to grow from the current 600,000 to more than 1 million, necessitating the major infrastructure addition.

The funding mechanism suggested is called a Transportation Economic Development Zone, something different from the common Grant Application Revenue Vehicle or GARVEE method used for most Idaho projects. Under GARVEE, money is borrowed from a fund that is reimbursed from future federal road tax revenues. Under the TEDZ, sales taxes from future growth will replenish the borrowed funds.

It will take a vote of the Idaho state legislature to approve the TEDZ and it may face some opposition because a couple of the taxing districts – parts of Nampa and Middleton – could lose some important tax funding.

Proponents believe the road could be under construction within two years if the TEDZ is given the green light in the legislature. I’ll keep my eyes open on this one. Could the Treasure Valley go from proposal to completion in that quick blink of an eye while Solano residents wait decades to see an important interchange continued to be kicked down the highway because of myriad planning, funding and environmental concerns?

The clock is ticking.

Bill James is a former editor and publisher of the Daily Republic, now living in Meridian, a suburb of Boise, Idaho.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 3 Comments

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 13 Comments

 
Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

 
Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7