State Route 91 Corridor Improvement Project Moves a Step Closer
RCTC’s procurement process for selecting a design-build team to design and construct the State Route 91 Corridor Improvement Project (SR‑91 CIP) met a new milestone. After an exhaustive evaluation process, staff ranked proposals from four teams. The ranking was based on a competitive, best value procurement that evaluated proposals based on a combination of cost, schedule, and technical matters.
- Atkinson/Walsh, a Joint Venture
- Shimmick/Obayashi/FNF, a Joint Venture
- Flatiron/Skanska/Rados, a Joint Venture
- Kiewit Infrastructure West
The procurement process is estimated to last for another two months as there are a number of financial, contractual, and legal matters that must be finalized prior to Commission action to approve a design-build contract.
The SR‑91 CIP is scheduled to open to traffic by the end of 2017. When completed, the project will widen the SR‑91 through Corona, extend the existing 91 Express Lanes from the Orange County line to Interstate 15, improve local interchanges, reconstruct a portion of the 15/91 interchange, together with other regular and express lane improvements within the SR‑91 corridor.
Commission Adopts its Policy Goals and Objectives for Fiscal Year 2013/14
The initial step in the budget process is to develop policy goals and objectives that are consistent with the Commission’s overall strategic direction. For Fiscal Year 2013/14, the Commission’s seven long-term policy goals are:
- Promote mobility;
- Mitigate and address the impact of goods movement;
- Encourage economic development;
- Ensure improved system efficiencies;
- Foster environmental stewardship;
- Support transportation choices through intermodalism and accessibility; and
- Prioritize public and agency communications.
The annual adoption of the goals and objectives for the budget provides an opportunity to match the Commission’s spending priorities in a manner that implements the promises made in the Measure A Expenditure Plan. The next step in the budget process is the development of the budget, which will be presented to the Commission at its May meeting through a public hearing process. The final budget will be approved at the June meeting.
A copy of the 2009 Measure A Expenditure Plan can be downloaded here.
Commission Endorses the Principles for California Environmental Quality Act Reform
At its March 2013 meeting, the Commission endorsed principles to reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). When CEQA was enacted 40 years ago, the wide array of local state and federal environmental and land use regulations now on the books did not exist. CEQA was essentially it. Since then, Congress and the Legislature adopted more than 120 laws to protect environmental quality in many of the same topical areas required to be independently mitigated under CEQA, including laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Green House Gas emissions reductions standards, SB 375 and more.
CEQA provided an avenue for public and private projects to be thoroughly vetted for impacts to the environment, local communities, and historic and cultural resources. While the CEQA review process benefited the public by increasing transparency and public participation in decision-making, protecting key environmental and cultural assets, the CEQA review process also provided a tool for opponents of projects to slow or destroy projects all together for reasons unrelated to the environmental concerns CEQA was designed to address. It is not difficult to find projects in Riverside County and across California with positive benefits to communities that incurred significant delays and expenditures of taxpayer dollars due to the misuse of CEQA.
In recent years, the Commission championed federal legislation that would allow states to substitute their own environmental laws if they are equivalent or more rigorous than NEPA. Recent federal transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP‑21), requires this idea to be studied prior to the enactment of the next transportation bill in Congress. To further this work effort, the Commission endorsed the Policy Principles for CEQA Modernization (here) developed by the CEQA Working Group. Additional details related to CEQA Modernization are available at www.CEQAWorkingGroup.com.