Supes to vote on Hwy. 12 money
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will decide today, Tuesday, whether or not to allot $450,000 to finish the engineering work for the Highway 12 project.
When the Highway 12 project was put on the shelf back in February as a result of a state Supreme Court decision that dissolved redevelopment agencies statewide, all of the utility undergrounding was finished and the rights-of-way had been acquired. But the engineering plans were stalled at only 65 percent complete.
Last month, 1st District Supervisor Valerie Brown asked that the question be placed on a subsequent agenda, and none of the other four supervisors objected.
Today’s meeting will be Brown’s last as a Supervisor as she’s retiring after 10 years on the board.
The $450,000 would come from money that would have gone to the redevelopment agency, but is the county’s share coming back from the state. The money would go for the final project design, environmental permits, closeout of right-of-way actions and other Caltrans required elements.
If the engineering design plans were complete and ready for bidding, the project would be “shovel ready” and in a better position to seek alternative sources of funding. In addition, completing the plans would allow the project to be immediately ready for bidding and construction should additional funding, former redevelopment funds or otherwise, become available.
Tom O’Kane, the county’s interim co-director of Public Works and Transportation, said at that time, even if the funds were available, it would be May before it was ready to go out for bids. And he said Caltrans has assigned the engineers working on Highway 12 to other projects.
The cost of the project is estimated to be around $6.75 million.
Last month, Brown, O’Kane, and Rex Cummins, a senior engineer with Public Works, met with Bijan Sartipi, Caltrans’ District 4 director in an effort to find some money to finish the project.
Three times the county’s Oversight Board, which was created to finish and dispose of redevelopment projects, has submitted the costs for the Highway 12 project to the state Department of Finance as part of its recognized obligation payment schedule, and three times the state has rejected the project.
After the last rejection, the county decided to sue the state for the funds for Highway 12, along with the Roseland shopping center in Santa Rosa, which was another redevelopment project.
The suit has yet to be filed.