The Coast News Group
Vista City Hall
Street view of Vista City Hall. Photo via Google

Vista road projects approved with $2.7M in TransNet funds

VISTA — A pair of road projects got the green light from the City Council during its Dec. 10 meeting.

The City Council approved three projects, which include an annual street construction and overlay and resurfacing. The total cost is more than $2.7 million, which comes from Vista’s share of TransNet taxes collected and distributed by the San Diego Association of Governments.

TransNet is a half-cent sales tax approved by voters for transportation projects. Those funds are distributed by SANDAG to municipalities based on population and number of miles maintained, said Sara Taylor, a Vista senior management analyst.

Vista has 200.3 miles of roads to maintain, which is the sixth-most in the county behind the city and county of San Diego, Oceanside, Escondido, Chula Vista and Carlsbad. Vista’s project is in conjunction with SANDAG’s Regional Transportation Improvement Program.

“This amendment aligns our RTIP programming for these projects for our five-year Capital Improvement Program budgets,” Taylor said.

Two of the bigger projects include Civic Center Drive between State Route 78 and East Vista Way and Olive Avenue from North Melrose Avenue to Maryland Drive. Those will consist of repair and rehabilitating high-priority distressed pavement and resurface streets noted in the Pavement Management System.

In addition, the improvements include replacement of damaged curb and gutters, sidewalk and storm drain culverts. Those are all required upgrades such as installation or replacement of curb ramps and traffic signs.

The second project consists of multiple locations citywide, such as arterials, collectors and residential streets in need of work, per the city’s annually priority ranking in the CPMP. Those repairs consist of distressed pavement areas and overlay streets with asphalt concrete, the staff report reads.

SANDAG, acting as the Regional Transportation Commission, is required by the San Diego Transportation Improvement Program Ordinance and Expenditure Plan to develop and adopt a RTIP, Taylor said.

The RTIP is a multi-year program of proposed major highway, arterial, transit, pedestrian and bikeway projects, according to the staff report. It also includes eligible projects to use TransNet funds submitted by local jurisdictions.

The TransNet sales tax extends through 2048 and is also the source of contention between SANDAG and the County Board of Supervisors for more transit funding, dubbed “5 Big Moves.”

The original TransNet tax was passed in 1987 and renewed in 2004. The 2004 forecast called $14 billion to be raised through sales taxes, but after re-examining those projections, it will generate around $6 billion. Of the $6 billion, $3.7 billion is required to pay down debt and the remainder, $2.3 billion, is what is left over.

SANDAG and some North County cities have negotiated to include several highway projects as a result of the backlash from the “5 Big Moves,” which is attempting to address the county’s state-mandated greenhouse gas emission levels.

“State Route 78 ends in stoplight. It’s a total outrage,” Councilman Franklin said during an August meeting. “I support the vision, but devil is in the details and you have figure out how to pay for it. You have to be realistic with revenue projections.”

Vista receives its monetary allocation from SANDAG funds for the current repairs and improvements to local streets and roads. However, the funds must be programmed by the city into the RTIP before they can be spent. The programming of funding is required to assist SANDAG with managing the cash flow needs of each local agency, the staff report said.

Currently, has six CIP projects in the 2018 RTIP. The city can make adjustments via the quarterly RTIP amendment process to adjust the amount of disbursements for individual projects or between projects, when needed.