The Point: RCTC is pursuing $92.7 million of SB 1 dollars to improve safety and efficiency where the 71 and 91 highways meet.

Continuing its effort to connect Riverside County and keep promises to voters, the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) has unanimously voted to nominate the 71/91 Interchange Improvement Project for state funding.

Improving the 71/91 interchange, which sits along one of the most congested highway corridors in Southern California,

is a key component of the voter-approved Measure A expenditure plan administered by RCTC. The Project has been fully designed, has received environmental clearance, and can go to construction by Fiscal Year 2019/20, meeting a key deadline for $1 billion in state funding being allocated by the California Transportation Commission (CTC).

Demonstrating strong state-local partnership on improving traffic flow in Riverside County, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) joins RCTC as a co-applicant for $92.7 million from the Solutions for Congested Corridors Program created by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, also known as SB 1.  The State Legislature named the SR-91 and Metrolink corridor in Riverside County as an example of highly traveled corridors intended to be funded by the Solutions for Congested Corridors Program.

The 71/91 Interchange Improvement Project replaces the existing connector between these two heavily-traveled highways with a safer, more efficient direct connector and eliminates the current loop connector that connects the eastbound 91 and the 71 Freeway.  The Project will also construct a collector-distributor system between Green River Road to east of the 71/91 interchange, which will improve traffic flow for vehicles transitioning between the two highways.  The eastbound on-ramp to SR-91 at Green River Road will also be slightly realigned to accommodate the new freeway connector’s alignment.

The 71/91 Interchange Improvement Project is part of RCTC’s 2009-2019 Western County Measure A Highway Delivery Plan, a suite of priority improvements slated for the first ten years of Measure A. When the Great Recession hit the region, Measure A revenues declined significantly, decreasing RCTC’s ability to fund and build projects such as the 71/91 as aggressively as originally planned.  With the passage of SB 1, new funding is available to complete this deferred project.

As part of its action to seek SB 1 state funding, RCTC will commit $24.3 million in federal block grant dollars to match potential state funds and fully fund the Project.

Utility relocation work and property acquistion is underway on the Project, in preparation for eventual construction.

The CTC is expected to select which projects it funds from this competition on May 16, 2018.

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