Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century — Federal Legislative Up-Date
An overview of the recently passed federal transportation bill called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP‑21) was provided at the July Commission meeting. Following are highlights of the two‑year, $105 billion transportation bill:
- Current funding levels maintained adjusted for inflation
- Eliminates or consolidates more than 60 programs into four core highway programs:
- National Highway Performance Program
- Surface Transportation Program
- Highway Safety Improvement Program
- Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program
- Project delivery acceleration
- Expansion of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (TIFIA) Program
- Creation of a national freight policy
MAP‑21 also simplifies several public transportation programs and includes a number of provisions to address freight needs.
Over the next several months, many new rules and regulations will be written to implement program and policy changes. In addition, Congress may soon begin to hold hearings on MAP‑21 and will also start to outline the next federal transportation bill.
The Commission applauds members of Congress representing Riverside County for supporting MAP‑21. The Commission was pleased to contribute to the process of developing MAP‑21 and looks forward to its successful implementation.
Coachella Valley Projects Nominated to Receive Proposition 1B Funding
In partnership with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, the Commission recommended the following projects be submitted to the California Transportation Commission to receive $12.3 million in Proposition 1B funds under the State-Local Partnership Program (SLPP):
- Monterey Avenue Interchange loop ramp;
- Varner Road/Jefferson Street Intersection;
- Monroe Street (Avenue 49 to 52) widening and intersection;
- Fred Waring Drive (Adams Street to Port Maria Road) median widening;
- Highway 111/Cook Street to Hospitality Row widening and intersection; and
- Highway 111/Washington Street intersection.
The SLPP funding is available for costs incurred in the construction phase and requires that the projects be matched on a 50-50 basis with Measure A funds, Riverside County’s voter-approved half-cent sales tax measure. In addition to the above projects, four western county projects were previously recommended for SLPP funding consisting of the Perris Valley Line (PVL), State Route 91 Corridor Improvement Project, Interstate 215 Central Widening Project, and the Foothill Parkway extension.
Commission Approves Transit Funding for FY 2012/13
As the regional transportation planning agency, the Commission is responsible for planning transit services, allocation of transit funds, operator oversight, and performance monitoring. In June, the Commission approved the Short Range Transit Plans (SRTP) for public bus and commuter rail service providers. The SRTPs identify operating and capital budgets as well as funding sources, and serve as blueprints for the future development of transit services, operations, and infrastructure. Based on the SRTPs, the Commission approved approximately $372 million in funding to cover the operating and capital costs for seven public bus operators and Metrolink commuter rail services for FY 2012/13. Funding levels for FY 2012/13 reflect a systemwide increase of 7.8 percent in total operating expenses and a 122 percent increase in capital expenditures mainly due to expenses associated with the completion of preliminary engineering and final design, right of way acquisition, completion of environmental assessment, and construction of the PVL commuter rail extension project. Overall transit ridership for FY 2012/13 is projected to be 17.3 million, approximately 2% higher than the current year ridership.