Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"We had a great meeting today about rail and transportation projects with staff from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the folks who actually write the Transportation Bill, and officials from the Federal Highway Administration, the folks who implement the Transportation Bill funding and projects, said TCAG Vice Chairman Pam Kimball, who also serves on the Lindsay City Council. "We received commitments from the Federal Highway Administration to assist with rail planning, meaning they will help us deal with issues related to rail abandonment, and with financing and training related to developing a public-private partnership that could lead to a successful short haul service between Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties."
TCAG executive Director Ted Smalley said that Congressional staffers and federal administration officials have cautioned Tulare County leaders that Congress may not reauthorize the Transportation Bill this session, but may act instead to fund some, but not all, proposed transportation projects. Councilwoman Kimball said members of the TCAG delegation have been told support has been widespread on the issue of continued funding for widening State Highway 99 and several other Tulare County transportation-related priorities.
"We've been told nothing but positive responses when we've discussed Highway 99," Smalley said. "We've also been told in several meetings before Senate committees and by Federal Highway Administration officials that they are very impressed with Tulare County's results to date when it comes to converting heavy vehicles to alternative fuels, and implementing a comprehensive plan to place alternative fuels fueling stations throughout Tulare County."