Wednesday, April 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Time for private companies to upgrade Highway 12?

By
From page A9 | January 19, 2014 |

Most Solano motorists have noticed that Highway 12 between Fairfield and Napa is gradually getting a much-needed upgrade. Concurrently, many Solano County residents have also had the joyous experience of traveling the other end of Highway 12 between Suisun City and Rio Vista.

The narrow passing windows, with people darting out from country side roads, add exhilaration to an otherwise leisurely country drive. The narrow cratered roller coaster between Highway 113 and Rio Vista gives drivers the experience of driving on the moon (with a bunch more gravity). Highway 12 recently underwent its biannual “double fine zone” recertification. Isn’t it time to make it a “double time it and make it four lanes” zone?

I first had the opportunity to utilize Highway 12 more than 20 years ago, and even then it was lacking, although I will admit some notorious spots were rectified in the past decade. Highway 12 is a vital chain in our county’s economic vitality; but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and Highway 12 has many weak links.

How many consultants and summits will be required to determine whether we need to upgrade it? What are the obstacles preventing us from achieving this? The right of way seems to be acquired for most of the span. There aren’t any houses that need to be bulldozed or moved. Perhaps some culverts need to be moved or extended and some steeper hills be leveled. Otherwise, it seems to be a fairly straightforward project; unless a tiger salamander or similar creature presents a legal challenge.

During the spending orgy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act a few years ago, Highway 12 should have been the poster child for public works improvement projects: Vital need, safety hazard, right of way acquired, minimal impact to existing residents (assuming you don’t count cows and sheep as residents). Yet, not much changed. We have numerous experts in the halls of government who are proficient at lobbying and applying for grant money for assorted projects (like superfluous train stations). How many resources have they brought in to get this artery upgraded?

The point is that there is a genuine natural demand for infrastructure in our county that residents have been taxed on for years and we don’t have adequate value for those resources. We just keep thinking to ourselves, “someday they’ll get around to finally getting it done.” Should we just keep on being optimistic and hope they get around to it in the next decade?

Alternatively, we could take a radical new course of action and let a private operator build out the road. They either get a fixed revenue stream from the government (the money the government theoretically has been collecting to upgrade Highway 12) or the operator could charge a toll. No risk to the taxpayer and if it doesn’t get completed, we are no worse off than we are now.

Of course, this doesn’t entail just giving the highway away. The potential operator would either buy the land, or have a longterm ground lease. The charge to use the “new and improved” highway would depend on the demand and the availability of alternate routes (too expensive? Then use Highway 4 or Interstate 80 to get to the Central Valley).

Many folks might gasp at the concept of a toll road, but the concept is not terribly foreign. We pay a toll every time we cross a bridge in the Bay Area (and most of the toll collected does not go to maintaining the bridge just crossed). In Silicon Valley, the process is on to convert car pool lanes to high-occupancy vehicle toll roads (you are not a qualified car pool, but have some money? Sure, you can use the car pool lane!) Toll roads are common on the East Coast as well.

In this era of diminishing public infrastructure investment, we the people need to consider nonstandard methods and programs to get vital goods and services provided. The “wait for the government to do it” mentality has left us with urban decay across our county and state. Are we the people willing to make the leap?

Brian Thiemer is chairman of the Solano County Libertarian Party. He can be reached at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

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

  • The MisterJanuary 19, 2014 - 8:43 am

    Here's the solution, Brian! Make the speed limit on 12 between FF and Rio Vista something like 20 mph. Make it a special zone so traffic tickets are doubled. Heck, with that barrel of fish, I'll bet the CHP would run helicopter enforcement and the sheriff deputies would be signing up for overtime to patrol that stretch. Heck, let's get some grant money and run a perpetual DUI check point... that will also slow people down. They could trade off with a TSA check point as well. Bottom line: no one dies and taxation by citation explodes the local law enforcement coffers. Sure, everyone will be late, but that's the price we pay for safety and security.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RalphJanuary 19, 2014 - 3:02 pm

    We all know HW12 is a death trap. I stop going there after my first brush with death. That was 12 years ago. Safety would be my #1 priority.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJanuary 19, 2014 - 3:23 pm

    I think many of us were surprised to learn the construction out there did not include four lanes. It seems that would have solved some transportation issues. Totally disagree with anything less than a 65MPH limit, K-rail dividers and wide shoulders.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LilJanuary 19, 2014 - 9:14 pm

    Yeah, I've got to say that with all the work that they did, I really can't see enough of an improvement. They did so much construction and yet there is still only two lanes. That was odd.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Records detail shooting victim’s court history

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 37 Comments | Gallery

 
Vallejo youth wins county spelling bee

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
25th annual Rush Ranch Open House on April calendar

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2

 
 
Saturday Club schedules Shower of Flowers event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Searchers find 84-year-old missing nearly a day

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Symphony opportunity, scholarships available

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Free Healthier Living workshops begin this week

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Music teachers receive program grants

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Vallejo woman hit, killed by vehicle

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

Workshops offer information on child support process

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

 
Water park to host first Easter egg hunt, swim

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

 
Group plans Haiti missions fundraisers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
Travel presentation ready to roll in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Helen Mirren film set for debut

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Frazier to deliver keynote at Solano EDC event

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10

WIB to host regional career fair

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

Fairfield police log: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

Suisun City police log: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A14

 
Man struck by car, injured

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A14

.

US / World

 
California man attemps Guinness record as oldest pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
3D print technology provides ‘robohand’ to 7-year-old girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police: Man, woman found dead after medical office shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Endangered bighorn sheep moved to Yosemite, Sequoia parks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Family: Man dead at Hollywood Hills home is Andrew Getty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Tuskegee Airman Leslie A. Williams dies in California at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Woman charged with stabbing boyfriend after salsa argument

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Police: Prisoner who stole gun, fled hospital found in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

US releases military aid to Egypt, cites national security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indiana governor wants changes to religious-objections law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Dress-wearing man killed by NSA police had lengthy record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Exercising critically ill patients may help speed recovery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Defense rests in 1st phase of Boston Marathon bombing trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
State Department found 4 emails about drones sent by Clinton

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Transportation strike shuts down Argentina

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Nigerian troops prevent Boko Haram attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Iran nuke talks extend past deadline

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Relief program paid millions for ‘flawed’ work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Buhari defeats Goodluck Jonathan in Nigerian election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
.

Opinion

 
Rebuild Gaza to avert next war

By Former President Jimmy Carter | From Page: A13

Reid’s US Senate legacy: Obstruction

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A13, 21 Comments

 
State moves up national school spending chart

By Dan Walters | From Page: A13

.

Living

Community Calendar: April 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: April 1, 2015

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: A2

Should we sent wedding invitations to relatives we know can’t come?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes: April 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

Dressing up spring asparagus with an easy brown butter sauce

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
‘General Hospital’ leads Daytime Emmy nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Olympic champ Gabby Douglas’ family to get reality show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Randle sets record, leads Stanford past ODU in NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vanden’s Orme strikes out 16, tosses no-hitter

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep boys golf preview: All 4 city teams are young

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1

 
Short-handed Miami rallies to beat Temple 60-57 in NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Barry Zito’s scoreless streak ends; A’s beat Angels 13-10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cubs will track noise so Wrigley rehab doesn’t disturb fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lincecum pitches into 6th in Giants’ win over Rockies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP’s Run to the Roses: Mubtaahij No. 8; Dortmund still No. 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Michigan State title would be worth $1 million to Vegas man

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP study projects average MLB salary tops $4M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
University of North Dakota begins campaign to find nickname

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge rules Ernie Banks will is valid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kentucky’s platoon system gives way to traditional rotation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Chris Mullin returns home to coach St. John’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Soccer player at center of search killed crossing LA freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Frozen Four will be old home week for BU coach David Quinn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rio Olympic tickets go on sale despite football uncertainty

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tiger Woods plays practice round at Augusta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US gives up another late goal in 1-1 tie at Switzerland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NASCAR finds Ryan Newman’s race team for manipulated tires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patriots owner: Aaron Hernandez told me he was innocent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders release DT Antonio Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tennessee hires former Texas coach Rick Barnes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Thunder star Kevin Durant has bone graft surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey showing off versatility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NASCAR driver Kyle Larson released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

San Bruno supports higher fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Google to release their cheapest laptop yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10, 1 Comment

Several charged in Medicaid shoe fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Fast food organizers expand their campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Online craft retailer Etsy preps for IPO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Many trucks being driven beyond designed top speed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Buffet expected to buy dealerships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

Gordon Davis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carlos Penados

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7