Our take on the third bridge theme: It was a good idea decades ago, thought state officials, so they bought property on both sides of the river to be ready to build when the plans were made and the money put aside.
Then the prospects of funding for the actual project dwindled and other projects seemed more important ... so the third bridge became a bad idea.
Locals, however, see it as an eventual necessity. Growth in communities and in traffic seems inevitable and without ample routes over the river, in this flood-prone area, there is risk, not to mention the economics of holding up traffic.
It seemed a bit of a gut punch when it was announced that the property picked up by Caltrans would be sold.
A bill by our Assemblyman James Gallagher passed both state houses – close to unanimously and with bipartisan support – to take the money from liquidation of the property and set it aside so that local entities sometime in the future could use the seed money to eventually put that third bridge in.
Alas, the governor vetoed AB 449 based largely on the excuse that taking that money out of the stream into the state General Fund would set a precedent the state might later regret. Same deal as last year, but it was Jerry Brown who vetoed the measure.
“Existing law establishes a process for programming transportation projects and directs revenues from sales of excess Caltrans property to the General Fund to be used to pay for transportation debt service,” Newsom wrote.
Gallagher said he will see about including the project in some part of a future budget.
“I’m not giving up, “ he said. “We are going to give it another shot.”
The veto is too bad. It’s a project that could be done to improve safety, transportation, and accommodate the growth sure to come to this area. This feels like we’re avoiding setting a precedent by letting money slip through our fingers.