President Donald Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion 2019 budget Monday that includes a $1.5 trillion plan for infrastructure projects across the nation.
The plan calls for $200 billion in federal money over the next 10 years to leverage $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending, relying on state and local governments and the private sector to contribute the bulk of the funding.
Once the money makes its way to San Diego County, it could help advance two big projects that locals say will drastically improve safety.
Ramona residents are arguing for the expansion of portions of State Route 67 where the highway is only two lanes wide.
Residents say the roadway becomes gridlocked when they and others in the area are forced to flee suddenly under the threat of wildfires. In areas where there is only one lane in each direction, it can be extremely difficult for families in a rush to get to safety.
The Ramona Planning Group says much of SR-67 must be widened to four lanes to better handle emergency traffic.
"Is there going to be another fire?” asked Jim Piva, a longtime Ramona resident and advocate for the expansion of SR-67. “You know there's going to be another fire! It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. So that's why the 67 (expansion) is important."
San Diego’s East County is another place where a big infrastructure project could alleviate the region’s traffic woes.
Currently, there is no transition bridge form southbound SR-125 to eastbound SR-94, so drivers must exit SR-125, often times endure a backup at a traffic light, then drive down Spring Street to the eastbound SR-94 entry ramp.
Residents say that inefficient system causes dangerous traffic jams and disruptions on nearby neighborhood streets. They also say neighborhoods are threatened when drivers take shortcuts and speed through city streets to avoid the area.
A proper transition ramp would cost at least $60 million, and it’s a priority for transit planners.
President Trump said his plan will simplify the approval process for infrastructure projects and shorten environmental reviews.