Centennial Corridor Project
Extending State Route 58 westward beyond State Route 99 is a concept which has been studied repeatedly. In the past decade two studies were completed – the 1991 Tier 1 SR 58 Route Adoption and the Bakersfield System Study. During both studies opposition to a Westside Parkway Connection resulted in the selection of alternatives that were more expensive and less practical. Because of limited funding none of the selected alternatives moved beyond the conceptual study.
Today with a federal earmark secured for the Thomas Roads Improvement Program, the region has a unique opportunity to take a realistic look at how to address this long-standing connectivity problem. Preferred alternatives from past studies may not be feasible due to excessive cost and their failure to meet the metropolitan circulation needs.
Our challenge is to fairly evaluate many alternatives that pass through a highly urbanized environment, and may require acquisition of homes and businesses. Public input and participation is an integral and essential part of the study process.
In 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was passed. Section 1302, the National Corridor Infrastructure Improvement Program, established a program to “…make allocations to States for highway construction projects in corridors of national significance to promote economic growth and international or interregional trade…” Projects were selected based on the ability to meet several criteria:
- Priority was given to any project that would be completed within 5 years of the date of the allocation of funds for the project.
- The extent to which the corridor provides a link between two existing segments of the Interstate System.
- The extent to which the project will facilitate major multistate or regional mobility and economic growth and development in areas underserved by existing highway infrastructure.
- The extent to which commercial vehicle traffic in the corridor has increased since the date of enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or is projected to increase in the future.
- The extent to which the international truck-borne commodities move through the corridor.
- The extent to which the project will make improvements to an existing segment of the Interstate System that will result in a decrease in congestion.
- The reduction in commercial and other travel time through a major freight corridor expected as a result of the project.
- The value of cargo carried by commercial vehicle traffic in the corridor and the economic costs arising from the congestion in the corridor.
- The extent of leveraging of Federal funds provided to carry out this section, including- Use of innovative financing; Combination with funding provided under other sections of the Act and Title 23, United States Code; and Combination with other sources of Federal, State, local or private funding.
The Centennial Corridor Project was awarded $330 million under this program.