A newly-released report by a national transportation research group highlights 20 of the most needed improvements to San Diego’s roadways and says many of those projects lack adequate funding.
The report, titled “Project Green Light: Moving California’s Critical Transportation Improvements Forward,” was released Wednesday by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group focused on transportation research.
The findings rank the most needed improvements in the San Diego area – and 105 other transportation projects across California – and the development of those projects, including efforts to operate, maintain, build, expand or modernize roads, highways, bridges, mass transit systems, rail, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
TRIP specifically chose to highlight these projects because they “would enhance development throughout the region and the state by increasing personal and commercial mobility, easing congestion, improving safety and conditions and enhancing California’s desirability as a place to live, visit and do business.”
The report looks at the funding statuses of those projects and rates each transportation improvement effort as either having a green light, yellow light or red light. A yellow light rating means the project has only secured partial funding, while a red light indicates the project, at this point, has little to no funding available.
According to the findings, many of the critically needed improvements on San Diego’s roadways lack enough funding to get the green light.
TRIP says five of those 15 local projects received a red light rating because they’re unfunded. Another five on the list earned a yellow light because only partial funding is anticipated to be available by 2020 or the funding is uncertain.
TRIP says these ratings jeopardize “the region’s future quality of life due to an inadequate transportation system.”
The 15 most needed San Diego area transportation projects outlined in the report along with their light ratings are, in order:
1) Maintenance and Improvement to Locally Maintained Roads, Streets and Highways (Yellow Light)
2) Construction of Managed Lanes on I-805 (Green Light)
3) Construction of Managed Lanes on SR-94 (Red Light)
4) Extension of Mid-Coast Light Rail Corridor (Green Light)
5) Construction of Managed Lanes on SR-78 (Red Light)
6) Construct Two Managed Lanes on I-5 North Coast (Green Light)
7) Construction of SR-11 and Toll Lanes and a Port of Entry at Otay Mesa (Yellow Light)
8) Rapid Service in South Bay (Green Light)
9) Adding Managed Lanes to I-15 (Red Light)
10) Implementing Rapid Options on I-805 (Red Light)
11) Extending the Bayshore Bikeway (Yellow Light)
12) Widening SR-76 (Green Light)
13) Construction of a Regional Bikeway Corridor (Yellow Light)
14) Construction of Managed Lanes on I-5 (Red Light)
15) COASTER Double Tracking (Yellow Light)
The report also highlights five additional important transportation projects all with a yellow light rating including:
16) Rapid Transit from Otay Mesa to Imperial Beach
17) Bringing highway bridges up to standard across the county
18) Improvements to on-site highways across the county
19) Preservation of on-system roadways across the county
20) Rehabilitation and restoration of the State Highway System in San Diego County & Imperial County
“The TRIP Report highlighting important unfunded transportation projects in the San Diego region underscores the vital need for legislative action on a transportation revenue package to support a growing population and a robust economy,” said Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California, in a press release that accompanied the TRIP report.
TRIP’S executive director, Will Wilkins, says getting the green light on all of these San Diego projects will require “increased transportation investment at the local, state and federal levels.”
The TRIP report also found that 51 percent of major urban roads in California have pavements in poor condition, while 8 percent of bridges in California are rated structurally deficient. The traffic fatality rate on California’s rural non-interstate roadways is nearly four-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state, the report states.