When my children were small, they would sometimes ask me what my job was. I would often respond that my job is to help people solve problems that are too big for them to handle by themselves. On one occasion, my daughter impatiently pursued the question. She said, “No, what do you DO?” I had to then confess that I go to meetings, make phone calls, talk to my friends, and write stuff. She was not that impressed. As a local elected official, many days and weeks are spent on tasks that are not visible, tasks that build to a desired outcome.
I am thrilled to share that after years of planning and advocacy, one of those outcomes is coming to fruition. In the last week of June 2021, we learned that the US Department of Transportation approved an $85,900,000 Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for the Yolo I-80 Corridor Improvement Project. I am proud to say that many of the meetings, phone calls, and writing over the past few years contributed to the collaborative effort that resulted in this award. It is good to be part of the team that successfully advocated for this funding to come to our region.
Those of us who live and work in Yolo County know how congested the I-80 corridor is between Davis and Sacramento with freight, commuters, transit systems, and recreational traffic sharing the roadway. This project includes improvements consisting of managed lanes, a managed lane connector at the I-80/US 50 interchange, pedestrian/bicycle facility improvements, and Intelligent Transportation System elements along I-80 and US 50 from Solano County boundary through Yolo County to the I-80 and West El Camino Avenue interchange and the I-5 and US 50 interchange.
This project will benefit the entire region by reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, improve goods movement and transit operations, and enable smoother travel across the Yolo Bypass. Many partners have worked for years to bring this forward. Special thanks go to the staff at Caltrans District 3, Yolo County Transportation District, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), Yolo County and the City of Davis for working in partnership to develop this project proposal. Thanks also to Senator Dodd and Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry for their strong letters of support; and to Congressman Garamendi for his unwavering support to bring this federal funding to our region.
Through my roles as a Yolo County Supervisor, a SACOG Board Member, and the 2021-22 Chair of the Yolo County Transportation District, I have worked tirelessly behind the scenes with partner agencies, making phone calls, securing letters of support, and making the case as to how this improvement in our transportation infrastructure supports environmental justice, economic prosperity, and goods movement goals. I’m grateful to the many organizations and staff who helped us achieve this significant funding award for our region. This is a positive investment in our regional transportation network. And it is an example of the work we do behind the scenes to help people tackle problems that are bigger than they can handle by themselves.
In shared service, Don