San Rafael, CA – Now entering its third cycle, the California Senate Bill 1 (SB1) will provide Marin County with an estimated $3.83 million to be allocated toward local transportation improvement projects slated for the 2020 construction season. Following the accountability measures of SB1, the Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) has identified 10 potential road projects in unincorporated areas of the county that could utilize the state funding.
Sleepy Hollow in the Ross Valley is one of the neighborhoods that will benefit from SB1 funding for road resurfacing.
While each project varies in scope, they will focus on asphalt resurfacing, safety upgrades, drainage functionality, and nonmotorized traffic accessibility. The projects, now being designed, would have a combined cost of approximately $7 million based on early estimates. Actual project costs will be unknown until a project is initiated and bids are received from prospective contractors.
The proposed list targets sections of the following roads: Dillion Beach Road in West Marin; Lomita Drive in unincorporated Mill Valley; Oak Knoll Road in Sleepy Hollow; Hillcrest Lane, Black Log Road, Fern Road, Murray Avenue, Estrella Avenue and two sections of Briar Road, all in the Kentfield area.
The list intentionally identifies more projects than can be covered by the SB1 funding. The purpose is to allow flexibility should any identified projects become infeasible because of construction requirements, scheduling complications, geographic restrictions, permit availability and/or project prioritization with other agencies. Also, the extended list enables DPW to initiate more projects should additional funding become available, either from the local level, SB1 or other grants.
The first infusion of SB1 was applied to the 2018 road improvement season and was used toward resurfacing Lucas Valley Road from Nicasio Valley Road to Big Rock in West Marin. Due to the partial implementation of SB1 during its first year, the funding allotted to Marin County totaled $1.38 million. The second allotment of SB1 funding totaled $3.83 million and is being used to fund a variety of 2019 construction season transportation projects in the Homestead Valley, Sleepy Hollow and Strawberry neighborhoods of unincorporated Marin.
Signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017, the bill, also referred to as the Road Repair and Accountability Act, will generate $54 billion for statewide transportation improvements over the next decade. Once fully realized, cities and counties are expected to receive a total of $1.5 billion annually from SB1 for the 10-year window, portioned out per capita.
According to projections, the act will provide an average of $4.1 million per year to be allocated to County-maintained roadway projects in unincorporated areas of Marin. The funding that is allotted to the County cannot be used for state highways such as 101 and 37, as they are maintained by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Accountability is a key facet of SB1, such as annual project list submissions, project tracking and annual expenditure reporting, to ensure that funds are strictly used for local transportation improvements.
While the Marin County Board of Supervisors has made road quality and safety a top priority for years, local funding alone is insufficient for the scope of work. Current funding is not enough to a maintain the County’s present level of road quality, which is below average for the state. To improve the condition of all County-maintained roads, additional grants and funding sources, such as SB1, will be necessary. Even with this infusion of SB1 funds, the backlog of road maintenance projects will continue to grow, and it will take even longer to get to a level of good repair countywide.
“The annual SB1 addition to the County’s roads budget is key to addressing priority projects earlier than previously possible, helping make our County-maintained roads safer and more sustainable,” said Ernest Klock, DPW Assistant Director. “This funding boost is critical to saving money in the long term by avoiding further roadway deterioration and significantly more expensive repairs.”