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COMMISSION APPROVES MEASURE A BOND DEBT LIMIT INCREASE FOR VOTER CONSIDERATION

Measure A logo

In 2002, Riverside County voters approved a 30-year renewal of the half-cent transportation sales tax known as Measure A. As required by state law, Measure A includes a limitation on the amount of bonded indebtedness that can be utilized to finance projects. That limit is currently $500 million and applies only to bonded indebtedness backed by Measure A revenues. Through the use of commercial paper and other debt financing, the Riverside County Transportation Commission (Commission) has borrowed approximately $180 million against Measure A to fund construction, and purchase right of way and habitat land as part of its responsibilities under the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

The Commission is also moving forward with a number of ambitious projects including the State Route 91 Corridor Improvement Project (SR-91 CIP), an extension of Metrolink's commuter rail service, and regional arterial development in Western Riverside County and in the Coachella Valley. Without a bond limit increase, there is the danger that some projects might have to wait for funding. By late 2011, the number of major projects going to construction will stretch costs beyond the $500 million threshold. The Commission is proposing an increase in the bond limit to $975 million, which represents less than 25% of the expected $4.1 billion in Measure A revenue. A change to the debt limit requires voter approval since it involves an amendment to the Measure A ordinance http://www.rctc.org/downloads/RenewedMeasureA_Plan.pdf.

The next step in the debt limit increase process is for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to take formal action by August 6, 2010, in order to place the measure on the November 2, 2010 ballot.

COMMISSION SELECTS LOCALLY PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE FOR THE STATE ROUTE 91 CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

RTA bus at Riverside Downtown Metrolink stationSince 2007 the Commission, in partnership with Caltrans, the Federal Highway Administration, the Orange County Transportation Authority, the cities of Anaheim, Corona, Norco, and Riverside, has been working on the
SR-91 CIP. This $1.3 billion project could create upwards of 18,000 jobs in California's largest construction project since the east span of the Bay Bridge began construction earlier this decade. As the technical studies are nearing completion and sufficient information is now available for comparison of the project alternatives, the Commission has designated a locally preferred alternative (LPA) that includes the following features:

  • Construction of an additional general purpose lane in each direction of SR-91 between SR-241 in Orange County and Pierce Street in the city of Riverside;
  • Conversion of the existing SR-91 HOV lane to a tolled
    express lane from the Orange/Riverside County line to Interstate 15 transitioning back to an HOV lane before
    Pierce Street;
  • Addition of a second tolled express lane on SR-91 from the Orange/Riverside County Line to I-15;
  • Construction of direct tolled express lane connectors from eastbound SR-91 to southbound I-15 and from northbound I-15 to westbound SR-91. One tolled express lane in each direction on I-15 would extend south to Cajalco Road from SR-91; and
  • Construction of direct tolled express lane connectors from eastbound SR-91 to northbound I-15 and from southbound I-15 to westbound SR-91. One tolled express lane in each direction on I-15 would extend north to Hidden Valley Parkway from SR-91.

The designation of the LPA does not minimize the legally prescribed environmental process as all alternatives will continue to be treated and presented at comparable levels of detail up until the preferred project alternative is selected. The Commission’s selection of a LPA in no way commits decision makers to approving the project, but is instead a way to provide more focused environmental review and increase public discussion related to the potential build alternatives. For additional information, the project website can be accessed at http://sr91project.info.

COMMISSION APPROVES
TRANSIT FUNDING FOR
FISCAL YEAR 2010/11

RTA bus at Riverside Downtown Metrolink station

As the regional transportation planning agency, the Commission is responsible for planning transit services, allocation of transit funds, operator oversight, and performance monitoring. In June, the Commission approved the Short Range Transit Plans (SRTP) for public bus and commuter rail service providers. The SRTPs identify operating and capital budgets as well as funding sources, and serve as blueprints for the future development of transit services, operations, and infrastructure.

Based on the approved SRTPs, the Commission approved approximately $157 million dollars in funding to cover the operating and capital costs for seven public bus operators and Metrolink commuter rail services for FY 2010/11. Although the service providers designed their respective plans to reduce spending with minimum effect on transit service, the overall economic climate will continue to impact ridership. Estimated ridership is a little over 14.8 million, approximately 3% lower than the previous fiscal year.

Sunbus

Upcoming Meeting

The Commission will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting on September 8, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. at the Riverside County Administrative Center, Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, 4080 Lemon Street, Riverside.

Speaker’s Bureau

The Commission also maintains a speaker’s bureau that actively makes presentations throughout the county on transportation issues. If you are interested in scheduling a presentation for your service club or community organization, please contact Eliza Echevarria at (951) 787‑7141 or eechevarria@rctc.org.

Follow RCTC on Twitter

TwitterIn an effort to enhance public outreach, the Commission has created a twitter account — an internet messaging site that allows anyone to post information on a real time basis. If you use Twitter, you can follow the Commission at twitter.com/RCTC.

Transportation in the News

Tunnel Vision: Riverside-Orange County Commission to Halt Costly Tunnel Plan?
(California County News, 7/13/2010)

Riverside County Road Borrowing to Boom to $1 Billion, if Approved by Voters
(Press Enterprise, 7/13/2010)

Cost Could Shelve Corona-Irvine Tunnel
(Press Enterprise, 7/11/2010)

Riverside Transportation Officials Want More Borrowing Power
(Press Enterprise, 7/9/2010)

Bill to Aid Highway 91 Expansion Passes Committee
(Press Enterprise, 6/29/2010)

Ads Considered at Riverside County Metrolink Stations
(Press Enterprise, 6/28/2010)

Officials Commission Report to Gauge if Drivers Will Use 91 Toll Lanes in Corona
(Press Enterprise, 6/27/2010)

Legislators Unite Against Practice of Charging Tolls for Ride-Sharers
(Los Angeles Times, 6/22/2010)

I-215 - Route 74 Interchange Project Breaks Ground
(Press Enterprise, 6/15/2010)

Riverside County Transportation Commission
P.O. Box 12008 • Riverside, CA 92502-2208 • Phone: (951) 787-7141 • Fax: (951) 787-7920
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