Cino promotes congestion relief in California

News AASHTO Journal August 30, 2006
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Acting Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino recently visited the 11th Congressional District in California--the home of Republican Representative Richard Pombo, the chairman of the House Resources Committee--to further tout the department's National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network initiative.

According to the Modesto Bee, Cino crossed I-580 over Altamont Pass to experience the congested roadway and promised to help find solutions. Pombo represents residents on both sides of the pass and says I-580 is one of the nation's worst transportation problems.

Cino said solutions might include truck-only lanes, carpool lanes, toll roads and "short shipping" of goods between the ports of Oakland, Sacramento and Stockton.

"If we try to incorporate not just one solution but a menu of solutions, we can make a difference," she told the Bee. "I think everything's on the table."

Pombo suggested that the solutions might include his controversial proposal for a new freeway to connect the Tracy area to Santa Clara County. That, he said, would be a long-term solution. In the nearer future, he said, the addition of carpool lanes to I-580 is needed, along with further expansion of transit, including the Altamont Commuter Express train and a BART extension to Livermore.

Cino offered no promises to help fund improvements and said the next step is planning. She and Pombo, escorted by a California Highway Patrol car, also fought late-morning traffic to meet with transportation planners and elected officials in Pleasanton.

According to the U.S. DOT, the initiative plans to provide a blueprint for federal, state and local officials to tackle congestion. The U.S. DOT is reportedly focusing resources, funding, staff and technology to cut traffic jams, relieve freight bottlenecks and reduce flight delays.

The initiative also seeks to open Urban Partnership Agreements with a handful of communities willing to demonstrate new congestion-relief strategies and encourages states to pass legislation giving the private sector a broader opportunity to invest in transportation. It calls for more widespread deployment of new operational technologies and practices that end traffic tie ups, designates new interstate "corridors of the future," targets port and border congestion and expands aviation capacity.

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