As chairman of the Tulare County Transportation Authority (TCTA), it gives me great pleasure to update you on the success of Measure R. On January 28th, the Fifth Annual Local Motion Awards Luncheon was held at the Visalia Convention Center with all county and city agencies represented. Projects and individuals were recognized for their contribution to transportation here in Tulare County. We also celebrated hitting the one billion dollar mark. Using Measure R as seed and match funding, we completed one billion dollars in road and transportation projects. The project that put us over this milestone was the Cartmill Avenue Interchange in the City of Tulare.
Without exception, every city and community in Tulare County has benefited because of Measure R. A few of the projects recognized were the Bardsley Avenue Grade Separation for Innovative and Sustainable Transportation, the Cartmill Avenue Interchange for Economic Development and the Modoc Ditch Trail for Bike/Pedestrian Project. Individuals were also recognized for the major roles they played in making these projects happen. John Liu of Caltrans, Mayor Rudy Mendoza of Woodlake and U.S. Congressman Devin Nunes were recognized for their outstanding public service. A complete list of Winners is found at: http://bit.ly/1ntJxEb.
Another high point to mention is that in the past six years the number of bus riders in unincorporated areas has doubled, with an increased ridership of 114% since 2010. A lot of planning goes into making the best of our Measure R funding. Without partners like CALTRANS and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), none of this would be possible.
As we press forward towards the next billion dollars, we know there are obstacles in our way. The Governor and State Legislators diverted millions of transportation dollars to their general fund in 2011, best known as the “triple flip”. There are currently efforts underway by the Governor and some State Legislators that favor ports and metropolitan areas in California, leaving the rest of us in the San Joaquin Valley and rural counties to compete for the left over scraps. We are working closely with local state elected officials to point out the negative impacts this will have on our projects that are well on the way to construction. This could mean delaying road construction projects for three to five years and in some cases until an unknown future. Please know that we are working on this. I also want to thank our staff here at TCAG. They are dedicated individuals working as a team each day to ensure that we get the most out of every dollar. Gratitude also goes out to the voters here in Tulare County who supported Measure R in 2006. Without Measure R, we might not have reason to celebrate such success. Phil Cox, Chairman Tulare County Transportation Authority (TCTA)