Talking to the Supers
First an important announcement — your action is needed this week. I’ll explain in a minute.
So I went and talked to the county Board of Supervisors (BOS) this morning, Jan 7th, about paved bikeway projects in El Dorado Hills. In particular, I asked them to direct county staff to submit an application for funding. This post is about the request and next steps.
The BOS meets regularly every Tuesday morning. Most people there are there to hear about or speak about things on the “consent calendar”, but some show up to speak during what’s known as “open forum”. That’s basically a small window of opportunity to step up to the microphone (and video camera) and have 3-5 minutes to talk to the board. You can say whatever is on your mind and it goes into the public record. So I did.
I gave all the Supervisors a short to-the-point handout flyer (which I’m providing to you here to save you the hassle of searching the public record). My statement was brief and to the point. For a little more explanation you should read the earlier blog post written about the Silva Valley Parkway to Bass Lake Connector. Basically I asked the Supervisors to direct their Transportation Division staff to submit an application for funding from another county arm called the El Dorado County Transportation Commission (not Division). Huh? Don’t worry if you are already confused; I was too. And quite frankly this is probably just light background for you. I’ll explain what you really need to know next.
Let me try to help you understand what’s going on and how you, the community, have a privileged responsibility to uphold. I’m going to distill this down to as simple as I can.
- the Transportation Commission and its counterpart the Transportation Division are doing all the planning, building, managing, and maintaining of all county transportation needs.
- the Commission is the planning and funding arm. It created the “bicycle transportation plan” and has, in this case, secured the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds.
- the Division is the entity that must write the application package required to get consideration under the CMAQ program.
- [now pay attention here] the Division already had, prior to today, its list of projects it was considering for submission for CMAQ funding. The two projects I proposed today to the BOS were *not* on the Division’s list.
- 1st success — the projects in El Dorado Hills are now on the appropriate peoples’ radar! This is in part because of the personal steps taken by EDH Trails but also credit is due to the people who phoned or emailed the Supervisors as I suggested in my earlier blog post. CONGRATULATIONS!
- whether or not the Division actually writes a submission by Feb 5, 2014 remains to be seen. I’m optimistic. You can take action, which I’ll explain in a minute.
- once Feb 5th passes, the Commission sets about the business of screening and scoring the applications. The scoring is critical because it forms the basis for what the Commission recommends to the Supervisors. The scoring is explained on page 8 of the application instructions.
- March 2014 is when we might find out how the submitted projects ranked and which ones the BOS finally approves for funding. Some projects might actually begin construction this summer.
- the Transportation Division staff decide that El Dorado Hills bike projects are not worthy of CMAQ funds and therefore don’t write a submission package. End of story.
- the Division submits a package to the Commission and the Commission doesn’t recommend that it be funded.
- the Division submits a package to the Commission and the Commission recommends it gets funded.
- and the BOS has final say in all qualified submissions, regardless of the recommendations, and can decide to fund or not fund our project.
Finally, what can you do?
This week is critical because the Division needs to decide very soon what projects it will spend staff time to write funding packages for by the deadline, Feb 5th. That is the first hurdle. So what I recommend you do is call or write all of the Supervisors now. They all have influence with the Transportation Division.
- Ron “Mik” Mikulaco (District 1) email BOSONE@EDCGOV.US
- Ray Nutting (District 2) email BOSTWO@EDCGOV.US
- Brian Veerkamp (District 3) email BOSTHREE@EDCGOV.US
- Ron Briggs (District 4) email BOSFOUR@EDCGOV.US
- Norma Santiago (District 5) email BOSFIVE@EDCGOV.US
I support EDH Trails’ request to have the county obtain Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding to improve the “Highway 50 Corridor Bike Route” as defined by the El Dorado County Transportation Commission (EDCTC) and adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
Particularly, I urge your support of the Class 1 bike path planned for Tong Road to connect Silva Valley Parkway and Old Bass Lake Road as part of the bicycle transportation plan adopted in 2010 by the Board of Supervisors. This project is on the priority project list as a Tier 1 proposed improvement in the bicycle transportation plan. This was also identified as a priority by the El Dorado Hills Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee during early 2013 with staff from EDCTC, EDHCSD, and EDC Transportation Division because it allows for more efficient travel between Cameron Park, Bass Lake area, and EDH Town Center.
Local bicycle clubs, representing 1000’s of user, want this corridor opened up for public use.