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City On The Ready For Stimulus Money

City of Santa Clarita first on the ready with projects ready for funding when stimulus monies become available.

The City of Santa Clarita developed a list of projects that could be ready to go to contract within 180 days after enactment of the federal stimulus bill.  Santa Clarita submitted $41,200,000 worth of project needs to Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and Congressman McKeon on December 26, 2008.  The list was also provided to the Governor's office, Caltrans, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

 “It is very unlikely that local communities will actually receive more than a fraction of what each jurisdiction identified in need.  For example, the overall identified national need for road projects was approximately $64 billion.  The final version of the $787 billion stimulus package contains less than one-half of that amount for road projects.  Funds within the stimulus bill will be distributed, for the most part, through existing formulas and pathways to ensure that the money gets to intended targets as quickly as possible, as opposed to waiting for the development of new distribution methodologies,” explains Michael P. Murphy, Intergovernmental Relations Officer for the City of Santa Clarita.

“Under existing formula allocations, transportation funding targeted for cities within Los Angeles County will primarily come through the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) expects to receive approximately $200 million in transportation funds from the stimulus package.  Of that, Metro will retain 50% of the money and distribute the remaining $100 million to cities.  Santa Clarita's formula based share is approximately $7.5 million — a far cry from almost $20 million worth of road projects which have been identified,” continued Murphy.

The project lists for each state and city, outlined by, was developed from a list of requested projects these jurisdictions submitted to the United States Conference of Mayors.  The City of Santa Clarita is not a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and therefore did not submit a list of projects to them.  It is important to note that the website list contains requested projects and is not a list of projects receiving guaranteed funding.  It was made clear early in the process that there would be no project specific earmarks in the final legislation.  The lists were primarily for demonstration of size and scope of projects that could be "shovel ready" within six months after enactment of a stimulus bill.  This was a lobbying effort by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to highlight the national size and scope of need.

At the direction of the Santa Clarita City Council last week, staff communicated the Council’s concerns that during enactment of the federal stimulus legislation, Congress direct that funding be allocated to local entities in an effort to ensure that states and regional entities do not divert an inappropriate level of funding to themselves in an effort to balance their budgets.  Because much of the money is directed through states and regional entities via existing formulas and funding pathways, it is likely that these other entities will find ways to retain a disproportionate share of funding to balance their budgets.

 In reviewing the limited available information under each category of funding in the stimulus legislation, there appear to be a number of other categories that may provide funding opportunities for the City.

Projects being considered include 

1. $600,000 – Install 264 storm drain trash excluders.

 This project will install Trash Excluder devices on each catch basin to capture debris so that it does not reach the Santa Clara River. It will result in a reduction of City resources to repeatedly clean catch basins and reduces the street sweeping schedule.  This project will reduce operations costs, reduce trash and litter in the Santa Clara River, and provide improved safety for staff that cleans catch basins. The project can be awarded as early as March 2009.

2.  $1,900,000 – Install 180,000 kWh solar array that doubles as a bus shade to reduce idling at Santa Clarita’s Transit Maintenance Facility – Install 110,000 kWh solar array on City Hall.

Project will install an 180,000 kWh Solar Array at the Transit Maintenance Facility, which is pre-wired for a solar shade structure. It will also install an 110,000 kWh Solar Array on City Hall.  Anticipate $1,100,000 for the TMF, as we have to construct the shade structure and $800,000 for the City Hall. A design building RFP process would allow for construction by June of 2009.

3. $500,000 – Upgrade remaining traffic signal heads to LED

Project will replace remaining existing incandescent signal lights to light-emitting diode (LED) and pedestrian indications with new LED countdown pedestrian signals. LED lights are brighter than traditional incandescent lights, thereby improving visibility to motorists. Pedestrian countdown timers will increase safety by allowing pedestrians to make proper judgments regarding time allotted to cross the street. In addition, LED lights are energy efficient producing 90 percent less energy than traditional lights. This project can be awarded by April of 2009.

4. $350,000 – Arundo (invasive plant) removal to restore 297 acres of city-owned portion of Santa Clara river.

Arundo is an invasive plant located around the Santa Clara River that requires hand removal. Arundo reduces groundwater recharge into the areas underground aquifers, which means a significant increase of dependence of energy intensive imported water.  It is also a major fire hazard, as it turns straw-like. The final phase of this project could be ready to implement by February 2009.

5. $450,000 – Ground water to irrigation pump station 1, DBAA 6

Project purchases the goods and services to underground a 10,000 gallon water storage tank and install a pump and irrigation system to water a landscaped slope.  Currently the slope is irrigated with potable water.  Natural ground water is pumped to Santa Clarita River and diverted for landscape irrigation use. 500,000 gallons of potable water can be saved annually and ground water containing low levels of chlorides and nitrates would be removed from the Santa Clara River. This project can be brought to construction by May of 2009.

6. $400,000 – Irrigation controller replacement and irrigation upgrade package

Replacement of 44 irrigation controllers that use outdated technology with web based technology, which can result in 12 percent water savings. This project also replaces outdated irrigation heads with low flow heads and an addition of master valves and flow meters to eliminate water loss when main lines break. This substantial irrigation upgrade project can be ready to construct by July of 2009.

Also being considered are the following projects with significantly lower costs:

Bridge rehabilitation for various bridges – $400
Traffic circulation and safety improvement at Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway – $350
Golden Oak pedestrian safety improvements across railroad right-of-way – $1,500
Asphalt roadway rehabilitation Phase II – $2,000
5th Street/Newhall traffic circle construction – $800
Newhall Avenue pedestrian safety improvements across Railroad right-of-way – $900
Traffic circulation improvements at two trip left intersections, upgrade signal heads to LED – $2,300
Whites Canyon Road at Soledad Canyon Road right turn pocket traffic circulation and safety improvements – $1,200
Install ADA ramps, repair sidewalks, curb and gutter – $1,000
Asphalt roadway rehabilitation, Phase I – $1,500
Asphalt roadway rahabilitation, Phase III – $2,000
Traffic circulation and safety improvements at McBean Pkwy and Orchard Village – $1,200

The following transporation project are also part of the city's request:

Newhall Metrolink parking expansion – $2,000,000
McBean Regional Transit Center PNR – $1,700,000
TIN Project Additions – $1,740,000
UFS Farebox program expansion (Paratransit) – $500,000
On-board camera upgrade program – $500,000

City spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said that the project list is a flexible one and may be revised as funds become available or are restricted.

City On The Ready For Stimulus Money

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