Citing a need to make travel around Ventura County safer for millions of commuters, Senate passed SB-1, keenly dubbed the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. From this plan, VCWPA laid out five key areas around the county needing upgrades, with all projects to be completed by December 2018.
With $3.79 million coming from SB-1 itself, Ventura County will see smoother road surfaces and expansions to bike and pedestrian walkways. Car accidents could theoretically lessen with these upgrades.
Incidents like a February 3rd rollover crash and even a chain reaction crash on 126, however, leave locals wondering if SB-1 included enough of Ventura’s vast roadway system. The volume of collisions Ventura County car accidents attorney J. Jeffrey Herman litigates draws the same conclusion.
Then President Trump drops his 53-page vision, highlighting $1.5 trillion in much-needed infrastructure upgrades nationwide. The brainchild of an administration fighting to regain momentum, only $200 billion will come from an already tight Federal budget.
How much California will receive – much less Ventura County itself – is unknown.
Who gets what – and who foots this bill
Under Trump’s plan, which provides one-fifth of the Federal assistance proposed in the Democratic plan, $100 billion would get earmarked as ‘enticements’ for local governments. This new money will incentivize each state when finding and securing private investments to help complete projects waiting in the queue.
There’s another $50 billion promised to rural communities as block grants, with individual amounts received based on miles of roadway in dire need of upgrade along with the total population. States receiving these monies may upgrade broadband services, public works, and transportation facilities.
Finally, $20 billion gets thrown into projects deemed ‘nationally significant’. Many would argue Ventura County has national significance, but unfortunately these funds will be diverted to ‘aging beauties’ like Hudson River’s Gateway Tunnel, et al.
Whatever breadcrumbs remain will beef-up various infrastructure-related loan programs and projects, which could muster $40 in private money for every $1 given by the Federal government.
One non-monetary component of Trump’s infrastructure plan, criticized by various groups, involves lessened wait times in getting permits approved. Instead of 5-10 years waiting on reviews to be approved, localities can expect two years – which was one component of Obama’s executive order that hasn’t reached fruition. Many believe cutting wait times eliminate environmental protections.
This plan may get funded by cuts to other programs. Interestingly, one could be the Department of Transportation.
What This Means for Ventura County
While two massive infrastructure plans remain ‘locker room talk’, residents of Oxnard, Santa Barbara and others nearby wonder how this massive beautification plan could improve the safety of county-wide roadways, if funds are even diverted locally.
Under one plan, more Federal dollars are guaranteed. Under another, private money could help bolster Ventura County’s highway system much faster while SB-1 continues its smaller yet more strategic side projects.
As political figureheads work through their various plans, residents can only speculate what comes next for their county, which could use surface upgrades and more safety barriers to deter unneeded accidents.
For now, we wait on what VCWPA proposes next as roadways continue producing major car accidents and senseless deaths resulting from these accidents. And for guys like J. Jeffrey Herman, who continues working through accident claims as a Ventura County car accident attorney, infrastructure upgrades can’t come quick enough.
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