Aug. 12—U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced Thursday that the Biden Administration has awarded $15 million to a project in the Yuba-Sutter area that will help facilitate the conversion to a zero-emission bus fleet.
In July 2021, Yuba-Sutter Transit announced that it had purchased a 19.7-acre property at 6035 Avondale Ave. in Linda to be the site of its new zero-emission bus facility, the Appeal previously reported. The agency has committed to the 100% conversion to zero-emission buses by 2035. In addition, a Highway 70 roadway and streets project was expected to impact the existing facility, which contributed to the reasoning for the agency to relocate.
According to a document from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the project "modernizes and expands zero-emissions bus infrastructure. The new transit facility will also have capacity for solar power generation to meet the zero-emission bus fleet energy needs, charging infrastructure installation, and micromobility services."
Last fall, the estimated cost of the entire project including design, construction and equipment was $42.5 million, according to Yuba-Sutter Transit Executive Director Keith Martin.
The $15 million that Yuba-Sutter Transit is set to receive is part of the $119.6 million that has been allocated to help support eight projects in California from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. This program is intended to assist projects that "modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation" and make transportation systems safer and more accessible, affordable and sustainable.
"The RAISE program is one of several ways communities can secure funding for projects under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's competitive grant programs," officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation said in a statement. "Later this year, the Biden-Harris Administration will announce recipients of the first-ever National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) program, as well as the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program and the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RURAL)."
Funds became available for this and other programs thanks in part to the passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which according to the Biden Administration was a "once-in-a-generation investment in our nation's infrastructure and competitiveness."
After moving through the U.S. House and Senate, the law was signed by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15, 2021. While the act did receive some bipartisan support, House lawmakers such as Republican Doug LaMalfa, U.S. Representative for California's 1st Congressional District, voted against the bill.
Overall, the act passed mostly along party lines in the House with a 228-206 vote and with broader support in the Senate with a vote of 69-30.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, other California projects that will benefit from RAISE awards include: — Maritime Support Facility Access/Terminal Island Rail System: The Port of Los Angeles will receive $20 million to construct a four-lane, rail-roadway grade separation that will eliminate a significant truck access impediment to an important container terminal support facility located on Terminal Island, at the center of Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach. The project will significantly reduce delays, accidents, and emissions at the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach, which handles 35% of all waterborne containers entering the United States. The current truck delays caused by the crossing are estimated to be 580 minutes a day, which can lead to containers being delayed by a full day, causing financial loss to shippers and a delay in getting those goods onto shelves and to consumers. By providing a grade separation, it reduces thousands of truck vehicle hours traveled daily and therefore has significant emissions reductions. It will also eliminate the use of a one-way tunnel, reducing the potential for crashes. — Mobility Zones: The Sacramento Area Council of Governments will receive $5 million to fund a regional planning project that will engage disadvantaged communities and integrate data from across the Sacramento Region to designate Mobility Zones. Priority projects will be identified and will proceed with design, engineering, and preconstruction activities under this grant project. This project includes both data-driven technical aspects and extensive community participation from the disadvantaged communities that the project aims to benefit. This means that the project is likely to reduce travel time, barriers to access, and transportation costs for members of the community, including disadvantaged households, which make up roughly 40% of the project area. The project will also focus on addressing disparities in current rates of transportation-related injuries and fatalities. — Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Connected Communities Project: The Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation will receive $1.6 million for this planning project which will develop Phase 2 of the planning for the Connected Communities Project, which will create separated pedestrian and bicycle paths and improved crossings around Highway 101. The project will address safety in an area that experienced 20 crashes, injuries, and fatalities between 2016 and 2021. In addition, the project will connect different areas of the reservation that are currently bisected by Highway 101, including better access to employment centers and tourist attractions. — Building A Better-Connected Inland Empire: The city of Fontana will receive $15 million to make major Complete Streets improvements by constructing additional lane capacity, an integrated traffic system, medians with protected left turns, a roundabout, bus turnouts, streetlights, signage, and raised medians, more than 7.5 miles of bike lanes, including more than 2.5 miles of separated bike lanes, a half-mile of multi-use trail, crosswalks, a bridge, and countdown signal heads. One particular focus is creating a safe way for hundreds of students to walk or bike to an existing high school and two planned schools. The project demonstrates benefits including improved safety, environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness and opportunity, and innovation. These changes will result in access to more transportation options that don't require a vehicle and better access to approximately 7,500 job opportunities. — California High-Speed Rail Merced Extension Design Project: The California High-Speed Rail Authority will receive $25 million for this planning project which will fund design efforts including the completion of a configuration footprint, mapping right of way, identifying utility relocation agreements, and other necessary third-party agreements for the Merced Extension of the California High-Speed Rail project. The project will design civil infrastructure, track and systems and station platforms from Madera to Merced, on the Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield early operating segment. Project Benefits: The project will provide a new, high-quality, zero-emissions transit link where one does not currently exist, increasing connectivity and reducing emissions from driving. The project is expected to reduce vehicle miles traveled by over 200 million miles per year, and the high-speed rail system will run on entirely renewable energy. — Inglewood Transit Connector Project: The city of Inglewood will receive $15 million to complete an approximately 1.6-mile fully-elevated, automated transit system with three stations to compete a critical gap in the region's transit system, on segments along Market Street, Manchester Boulevard, and Prairie Avenue. It includes construction of three center platform stations. The project provides a new transportation option, creates an alternative to personal vehicle use, and was designed in consultation with local underserved and disadvantaged communities. The project will provide important first- and last-mile connectivity between the K-Line Metro and places of interest such as the Forum/SoFi Arena, residential areas of Inglewood, and employment centers. The application included an explicit commitment to a Community Workforce Agreement to hire 35% local residents, 10% disadvantaged workers, and 20% apprentice workers to complete the work of building the project. — Transforming Howard Street for Safe & Equitable Mobility: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will receive $23 million to transform the one-mile, three lane, dangerous and congested Howard Street arterial to a two-lane street with Complete Streets improvements and green infrastructure. The project will construct concrete buffers to separate travel modes, add two-way protected bike lanes, upgrade curb ramps, upgrade traffic signals, raise crosswalks, add bulb-outs and midblock signals, install pedestrian lighting, and create passenger loading zones. The project expands transportation infrastructure for residents in underserved and overburdened communities that are reliant on walking, cycling or public transit. The application described how 99 percent of residents along the corridor commute by walking, transit or cycling. Creating a safer bicycling corridor will reduce serious injuries and fatalities and accommodate future growth. An additional safety improvement is the allocation of loading spaces for business needs to prevent double parking and blockage of travel lanes for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.