FISCAL YEAR 2011/12 BUDGET ADOPTED BY UNANIMOUS VOTE
During the upcoming fiscal year, the Riverside County Transportation Commission will spend more than $610 million on a variety of projects and programs. By using a combination of funding from sources that include the voter approved Measure A sales tax, local transportation fund sales tax, and state and federal programs, the Commission is moving forward with an ambitious program of project development and funding leading to the construction of billions of dollars in transportation projects over the next decade. During the year, construction will continue on major freeway projects including the SR-91 high occupancy vehicle lanes from Adams Street to the 60/91/215 interchange, the 74/215 interchange, the I-215 south segment from Murrieta Hot Springs Road to Scott Road, and the 60/215 East Junction high occupancy vehicle lane connector project. Staff will continue to focus on the completion of the environmental, design, and construction processes on the SR-91, I-15, and I-215 corridor improvement projects. In addition, the Perris Valley Line, a 24-mile extension of the Metrolink commuter rail service, is anticipated to start construction in the spring of 2012.
Regional programs consisting of commuter assistance, motorist assistance, Metrolink's commuter rail, public bus and specialized transit services will receive a little over $125 million in funding during Fiscal Year 2011/12. Much of that funding is received from state sales tax sources and is passed through to individual transit operators. Measure A funding is also used for public and specialized transit services.
In terms of expenditures for staffing and administration, the Commission is limited by state law to spend no more than one percent of Measure A revenues on administrative salaries and benefits. The budget authorizes a total of 41 positions in the coming year, an increase in staffing by one position.
To view the Commission's FY 2011/12 budget, click here.
FUNDING GAP FILLED FOR THE I-215/VAN BUREN BOULEVARD INTERCHANGE AND AUTO CENTER DRIVE PROJECTS
Due to the sluggish economy and budget struggles, the state of California was unable to sell Proposition 1B bonds in the spring of 2011. The bonds were originally approved by the voters in 2006. Due to the lack of a bond sale, numerous transportation projects are unable to start construction unless alternative funding is available. Two projects – the I-215/Van Buren interchange and the Auto Center Drive grade separation – received $26 million in gap funding at the June 8 Commission meeting. In addition, $10 million was allocated to the interchange project to fill a funding shortfall. The infusion of local money enables these two projects to proceed to the construction phase resulting in job creation and improved mobility. In addition to the estimated 800 construction jobs, the I-215/Van Buren interchange project will provide the key infrastructure component to deliver the single largest job center in the county at the March Joint Powers Authority reuse area, estimated to create 38,000 jobs in the industrial, logistics, and medical sectors. The Auto Center Drive grade separation project is projected to create 570 construction jobs by building a grade separation over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway at an estimated cost of $32 million.
Given the favorable construction bid climate – with bid estimates coming in lower than anticipated – the Commission has successfully reprogrammed bid savings. This results in additional transportation projects throughout the county being able to start construction.