Sunday, January 18, 2009

50 Expansion Approved

In what looks like a great deal all around, the expansion of Highway 50 from Sunrise to Watt looks to be a go and that is very good news for the commuting public; though it remains to be seen whether anyone will ever ride the light rail promised as part of the deal (or all light rail for that matter) in numbers sufficient to pay for itself, as most highways do through the various taxes connected to automobiles, trucks, and suburban developers.

An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee article.

“A Sacramento judge gave his OK Friday to what's being called a landmark agreement between state officials and environmentalists to allow carpool lanes on Highway 50 in Rancho Cordova.

“The lawsuit settlement, brokered this week by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, clears a major sticking point in state budget negotiations, legislative leaders said.

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has insisted the Highway 50 project and nine others statewide be fast-tracked as part of an economic stimulus package attached to a state budget agreement.

“Legislative Democrats balked on Highway 50 in particular, saying the state should not pre-empt an ongoing environmental lawsuit.

“With Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley's signature in hand, state Transportation Department officials say they plan to start work late this summer on seven miles of carpool lanes between Sunrise Boulevard and Watt Avenue.

"The earlier the better," Caltrans head Will Kempton said. "It's a shot in the arm to the local economy."

“Caltrans planners say the freeway widening will smooth traffic on what has been a troublesome corridor, where congestion occurs in both directions, morning and evening, as some commuters head to downtown Sacramento, others to Rancho Cordova's office parks.”