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A wider Hwy. 1 up to county and its voters

A wider Hwy. 1 up to county and its voters


Mon, Dec. 09, 2002
By Gary Richards

Q What agency has the ultimate power to decide if Highway 1 gets
the necessary funding to widen the freeway between Santa Cruz
and Watsonville? Some say it is the county, and some say it is the

David Szafranski

A The countyand its votershands down. Legislation a decade
ago wrestled considerable authority away from Caltrans and gave it
to local transportation bodies, like the Regional Transportation
Commission in Santa Cruz County. Caltrans now directly controls
only 25 percent of state transportation dollars, usually for what are
termed inter-regional roads. Local agencies oversee the remaining
75 percent. But thereís still not enough money to cover the $300
million it will cost to widen Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and
Watsonville. County voters will be asked to pay for the bulk of this
work through a half-cent sales tax, perhaps in 2004. Thatís the
strategy used in Alameda County to widen Interstate 880, and in
Santa Clara County to build Highway 85 and begin preparations to
bring BART to San Jose. An important note: Unless state law is
changed, to go into effect, the tax will have to pass by a two-thirds
majority. And that is a tall task, even to widen a road like Highway

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