President Donald Trump’s administration might include the South Coast’s Highway 101 HOV widening project as part of its Federal Transportation Investment Program.
The state of California has included the massive transportation project on its $100 billion list of high priority transportation projects in the state. The state submitted the Highway 101 project to the National Governor’s Association for potential inclusion on Trump’s list of infrastructure projects to fund.
“I am very pleased the 101 HOV Widening Project is recognized by the state of California as one of the nation’s most important infrastructure investments,” said Marjie Kirn, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. “(Highway 101) is one of only two highways connecting Southern California to the Bay Area and is a critical economic link for goods movement from our region to the rest of the country.”
The project calls for adding HOV lanes in both directions through the 10.3 mile stretch from Bailard Avenue in Carpinteria to Sycamore Creek in Santa Barbara.
Traffic gridlocks on weekdays during morning and evening commute times. On weekends, traffic through Carpinteria moves at a snail’s pace as tourists come into Santa Barbara on Saturday and then leave on Sunday.
The widening project is expected to cost about $425 million. Officials hope the final and costliest phase of project will begin as early as 2018. It is expected to take 10 years to complete.
Trump’s administration has proposed offering $137 billion in federal tax credits to private investors into public transportation projects.
Local transportation officials consider the Highway 101 widening project the region’s highest transportation priority. California faces a $137 billion backlog of infrastructure repairs.
“Including the 101 freeway on the national list of priority transportation investments will increase our chances for new federal funding to complete the 101 HOV widening project and create new multi-modal commute options to reduce traffic congestion for local residents,” Kirn said.
The added lanes would be part-time HOV lanes. They would operate as general purpose lanes during off-peak periods of weekdays and on weekends.
• Contact Joshua Molina at [email protected]