State Route 91 Corridor Improvement Project Receives a $20 Million Tiger Grant
On Thursday, December 15, Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, announced that the State Route 91 Corridor Improvement Project (SR-91 CIP) received a $20 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) grant. The funding provides a portion of needed financing for the SR-91 CIP which extends the 91 Express Lanes into Riverside County, adds a new lane in each direction of the SR-91, rebuilds seven interchanges, makes needed street and access improvements in the city of Corona, and constructs a number of auxiliary lanes at key locations to ease access on and off the freeway especially between the SR-91 and Interstate 15. The project is projected to create 16,000 jobs and is estimated to cost $1.35 billion with approximately two-thirds of the funding anticipated to come from the sale of toll revenue bonds and Measure A funds. Additional information on the project is available at www.sr91project.info. The TIGER TIFIA grant will leverage part of a $445 million TIFIA loan needed from the U.S. Treasury to support the remaining one-third of the project cost.
TIGER III was highly competitive. $527 million was available nationally; 828 applications were received, totaling $14.1 billion in requests. In reviewing the funding requests, it appears that TIGER awards were capped at $20 million and the Commission received the largest grant amount possible in this funding round. A copy of the Commission’s press release can be accessed by clicking here.
A list of TIGER III grant recipients is available at www.dot.gov/tiger/.
FUNDING PROVIDED TO SUPPORT
WESTERN RIVERSIDE COUNTY REGIONAL CONSERVATION AUTHORITY
The Commission committed $3 million annually for the next 8 years to the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority to buy wildlife habitat properties under the Multiple Species Habitat Conversation Plan (MSHCP). The $24 million commitment of funds will fulfill the Commission’s obligation to provide $153 million for mitigation of our transportation projects. The funding will be used by the RCA to assist in the purchase of land deemed critical to maintaining the county’s habitat plan for rare and endangered plants and animals. As part of the MSHCP, approximately 153,000 acres of additional reserve lands will be secured to add to the approximately 347,000 acres already in public/quasi-public lands. The Western Riverside County MSHCP is the largest in the nation providing protection of 146 plant and animal species within a planning area of 1.26 million acres. Nearly 500,000 acres of resources, or about 40% of the planning area, will be protected.
2012 ELECTION OF OFFICERS — SUPERVISOR JOHN BENOIT ELECTED CHAIR OF RCTC
Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit was elected to serve as the Commission’s new Chair for 2012. Corona’s Councilmember Karen Spiegel will serve as Vice Chair and Supervisor Marion Ashley will serve as Second Vice Chair.
Supervisor Benoit has extensive political experience including several years in the State Legislature and most recently represented the 37th district as a California State Senator. He was appointed to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and was elected to a four-year term in June 2010. Benoit represents the 4th District and serves on numerous committees including the Southern California Association of Governments and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Spiegel will serve as the Commission’s Vice Chair. She was elected to the Corona City Council in 2002 and served as Mayor in 2006 and again in 2010. She serves on a number of regional boards including the League of California Cities, Riverside Division, and the State Route 91 Advisory Committee.
Ashley was elected to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in 2002. He has served on a number of regional boards including the March Joint Powers Commission and the Western Riverside Council of Governments. Supervisor Ashley has championed a number of projects including the Mid County Parkway and the Perris Valley Line.