At a recent hearing held by Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto), chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Inland Empire Transportation Issues, San Bernardino's regional transportation agency presented a consensus list of projects which will be submitted for Proposition 1B funding.
The top five projects are: the I-15 and I-215 interchange project; the I-10 corridor projects, which involve rebuilding interchanges and widening overpasses at Citrus, Cherry and Riverside avenues; railroad grade separation projects in San Bernardino, Colton, Ontario, and Grand Terrace; the high desert corridor project and the State Route 58 highway expansion project.
"It has been a challenge to arrive at a consensus at times," said Mark Nuaimi, mayor of Fontana, who spoke at the hearing on October 31 in San Bernardino. "But consensus has been reached; unity is needed. . . to help define the legislative agenda."
The hearing was attended by members of the Inland Empire Legislative Caucus, state and local officials, and community leaders. Elected officials came together to announce support for priority projects designated by SANBAG. To get the greatest amount of transportation bond money, projects must meet a defined list of criteria set forth by the state.
Advocacy by state and local officials will also play a crucial role in obtaining funding for much-needed transportation improvements. "The administration must respect the priorities that regional agencies have listed instead of using a list that relies solely on statewide reports," Carter said. "It is my goal to support SANBAG's and RCTC's efforts during the project selection process and in the state budget process, when the Trade Corridors Improvement Fund will be allocated."
"The Inland Empire is severely impacted by both pass-through freight and freight that remains within the region," San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt, said at the hearing. He serves as vice president on the SANBAG board of directors. "Eighty percent of the goods coming in from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach move through the Inland Empire. Southern California faces a disproportionate share of freight challenges in comparison to the rest of the state, and for that matter, the nation."
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