By choosing a less ambitious expansion of Interstate-5, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) just got $800 million dollars to spend on other projects. In recent years, the agency has ranked transportation projects by need. So when money falls into their lap, they know just what to do with it.
The funds will be used to move up two project by 10 years, although that just means they’ll be started in 30 years instead of 40. The first of these projects involves adding connector ramps between State Route 78 and the express lanes that are included in the previously mentioned expansion of I-5. The other changes the contentious Mid-City Rapid Bus into a Trolley line connecting City Heights and Downtown.
By moving those two projects up, three more projects can be added.
- $300 million will be added to the $1.31 billion already allocated for rail grade separation. The money could fund three additional separations of the COASTER at road intersections or seven grade separations of the Orange and Blue Trolley lines.
- $200 million would be added to the $500 million Safe Routes to Transit program which seeks bus, bike and pedestrian solutions for that “last mile” between major transit stations and final destinations of riders.
- $300 million would be added to the $299 million Smart growth Incentive Program which funds the integration of residential and commercial growth with public transit.