In anticipation of federal stimulus funds, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments board of directors has authorized $76 million for transportation projects in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties.
The board’s decision adds to the $32 million they authorized in February for road rehabilitation. SACOG will also work closely with Placer and El Dorado counties to distribute the estimated $120 million they will receive as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama last month.
“This funding will put people to work improving our roads, buses and light rail. SACOG and local government agencies are working cooperatively to ensure that economic stimulus funds are spent efficiently and appropriately,” said SACOG board chair and Yolo County supervisor Helen Thomson in a statement.
Some of the projects, such as for road rehabilitation, may begin as soon as summer, said SACOG spokesperson Erik Johnson.
“The road projects are something that can be done early and that will have an immediate effect,” he said.
Local jurisdictions and transit operators are obligated to have their projects ready for bidding by July 1, while the deadline for non-transit projects is May 29.
Though various restrictions apply to how the money will be used, citizens do not necessarily have to worry about the “use it or lose it” restriction implemented by the ARRA, Johnson said.
“The region doesn’t necessarily lose the money,” he said. “There are contingencies where the money can be reassigned to other projects in the region. Deadlines are set up to make sure we use all the money we get.“
Before SACOG receives the funds, they will first pass through Caltrans after the U.S. Department of Transportation has determined the precise amount available and allocated it to the region.
Currently scheduled projects range from track relocation at the downtown Sacramento Railyards to commuter bus replacements, traffic signal upgrades, street rehabilitation and sidewalk improvements across the six counties.
In addition to the approximately $4.5 million awarded to Unitrans for replacement buses, the city of Davis will receive $650,000 for pedestrian and transit improvements along Second Street and $600,000 for bikeway rehabilitation projects.
Additional funding for other projects should come in the following months.
“The ARRA has dozens and dozens of separate allocations for different purposes at the state, city and county levels,” said Assistant City Manager Paul Navazio.
Navazio and the city’s staff have been working on a summary of economic stimulus funding that Davis is eligible to receive. While formula allocations make up most of the available funding, Davis is also in the process of applying for various competitive grants for community development, public safety, law enforcement and waste water projects.
Davis will likely receive $591,000 through formula allocation for green development and energy conservation, Navazio said.
At this point, many of the details concerning available funding through the ARRA are still uncertain.
“This is a fairly extensive animal we’re tracking and trying to stay on top of,” Navazio said. “It is unclear at this point whether any of the additional stimulus money will be available through grants or through loans.“
Davis is also working toward a high level of transparency regarding stimulus funds. Soon the city will implement a website so residents can track the various pots of money the city is applying for, Navazio said.
City staff will present an informational update on stimulus money already received as well as additional applications for grants to City Council at a budget workshop on Apr. 7.
AARON BRUNER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.