Thanks to funds from Proposition 1B, Highway 101 may see some major improvements, including the widening of the Santa Maria Bridge. The widening is one of 43 projects out of 149 that applied for Proposition 1B funding that the California Transportation Commission (CTC) staff recommended at its Feb. 20 meeting. The total amount set aside for those 43 projects is $2.8 billion.
The list of projects has faced considerable opposition from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and officials from urban areas, who argue that rural areas stand to benefit the most from the funds intended to reduce congestion, even though cities have a more pressing need for the money.
The $132-million Santa Maria River Bridge project would widen the bridge to three lanes in both directions. If approved by the nine-member commission, construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2010, according to Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG). SBCAG, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, and Caltrans requested the project.
Voters approved the state measure legislation passed in November to "fund state and local transportation improvement projects to relieve congestion, improve movement of goods, improve air quality, and enhance safety and security of the transportation system" to sell $19.9 billion in bonds to pay for road improvement projects throughout the state.