McCarthy Announces $17.5 Million DOT Grant to Expand Route 46 through Lost Hills
Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy is pleased to announce the U.S. Department of Transportation’s intention to award a $17.5 million grant to the Kern Council of Governments for Kern County California State Route 46 Widening Segment 4B project. The grant award is from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant program. This project will widen a 5.3 mile segment of 2-lane highway to a 4-lane highway. McCarthy released the following statement on the program:
“Our community is home to some of the most important economic industries in the country. With that prominence comes a responsibility to ensure the corridors to get to and from the Valley are safe and effective. In fact, the U.S. Department of Defense identified State Route 46 as a Strategic Highway Corridor Network. Unfortunately, State Route 46 through Lost Hills is so dangerous it has been dubbed Blood Alley. Understanding its national importance and how our constituents frequently travel this route, Congressman David Valadao and I were committed to securing the necessary federal resources to widen a portion of State Route 46 from two lanes to four as part of the BUILD 46 project from the Kern Council of Governments (KernCOG). In September, we formally supported KernCOG’s request for these resources. I am proud to announce today that DOT Secretary Elaine Chao informed me that the needed $17.5 million for the project will be granted to our community. The project will build on the success we have had over the years to upgrade our infrastructure that has opened up new avenues into our growing region. This announcement recognizes that the Trump Administration — and Secretary Chao specifically—understands and appreciates our communities’ economic future.”
BACKGROUND: On September 6, 2018, Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Congressman David Valadao sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in support of the grant submitted for the project.
Because public involvement in the transportation planning process is important to ensuring that decisions reflect the needs of the entire community, Kern COG actively seeks public opinion on our work programs and project at all stages of the process. Our public participation practices were recently recognized among the best in the nation by the Federal Transit Administration.
Kern COG carries out its transportation and air quality planning responsibilities in a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive manner in conformance with federal and state law that determine how Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) provide for early consultation and public participation.
In 2003, the Kern COG Board of Directors began broadcasting its meetings countywide through Kern Government Television (KGOV). During their meetings, the Board of Directors provides opportunities for comments from the public as well as from each of the member jurisdiction representatives.
Throughout the year, agency staff provide booths at community events to answer questions and solicit comments about the region’s transportation network. Since 2007, Kern COG has conducted a statistically valid 1200 person Quality of Life Community Survey. The survey is designed to gauge residents’ overall opinion of current and future quality of life in their city or town; survey the importance of specific issues related to future quality of life in the county; understand the daily commute behavior of the average resident; determine housing preferences; and identify any differences in opinion due to demographic and/or behavioral characteristics.
One of the purposes of the Kern COG web site is to involve the public in the decision-making process in Kern County. The site offers the user an opportunity to access information that is needed to make informed decisions and to establish a forum for the expression of the users’ thoughts on the issues.
On September 30, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 375 into law. SB 375 was introduced as a result of AB 32, the climate change legislation signed into California law in 2006. SB 375 builds on the existing regional transportation planning process to connect the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks to land use and transportation policy. SB 375 requires all Metropolitan Planning Organizations, such as Kern COG, to update their Regional Transportation Plans so that resulting development patterns and supporting transportation networks can reduce GHG emissions by the amounts set by the California Air Resources Board.
The Kern Climate Change Task Force was formed in 2009 to assist Kern COG and its member agencies to meet the goals and objectives of Senate Bill No. 375 (SB 375). The Kern Climate Change Task Force was folded into the Transportation Modeling Committee in 2010.
Senate Bill 375 requires CARB to develop and set regional targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions from passenger vehicles. Additional data is available on the CARB Regional Plan Targets website.
California Climate Change Portal
The landmark California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 established the first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of GHG. More information is available on the California Climate Change Portal.