US Representative Lois Capps and Dick Weinberg blocked funding for widening Highway 101

When local politicians whine about lack of funds for highway construction, it is important to understand that local politicians blocked funding for highway construction. This was released Thursday, May 15th, 2003, by former Carpinteria city councilman Greg Gandrud.

Carpinteria Mayor Blocked Highway 101 Funding; Dick Weinberg betrayed Carpinteria City Council

Santa Maria, California: At this morning’s meeting of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), Carpinteria Mayor Dick Weinberg voted against adding an urgency item to the agenda that would have sought $20M in Federal funding for interchange replacements in Carpinteria. His vote today, representing the City of Carpinteria, stood in direct opposition to a vote of the Carpinteria City Council last Monday, May 12th, where the council (with Mayor Weinberg absent) voted unanimously to make a formal request to SBCAG that they consider as an urgency item a formal request to Lois Capps to obtain the funding as part of the Federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

Mayor Weinberg was joined by First District Supervisor Naomi Schwartz and others in refusing to hear the item as an urgent addition to the SBCAG agenda. Evidently, SBCAG does not consider funding for the relief of congestion on Highway 101 to be an urgent matter. This funding request was particularly urgent because TEA-21 is only authorized once every six years and SBCAG had already missed the deadline to include Carpinteria’s interchanges in their request for Federal funding. Until Congress votes on the bill, late requests for funding can be honored.

Carpinteria Councilman Gregory Gandrud had spent most of last week in Washington DC where he met with Emil Frankel (Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy), with key Congressional and Senatorial representatives, and twice with members of the Bush Administration at the White House. Gandrud had paid for the trip from his own pocket in an effort to fast-track funding for improvements to Highway 101.

CalTrans estimates a minimum of twelve years and a cost of 400-600 million dollars to relieve congestion on Highway 101. Currently, Lois Capps has requested only 600 thousand dollars to partially fund a two-year study known as the Implementation Plan. There are no definite projects in place to widen the freeway to six lanes. Governor Davis has proposed in his new budget the elimination of all funding for new transportation projects and diversion of funds for local street and road improvements to make up for the General Fund shortfall.

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