Better luck this time.

The idea of a third local bridge over the Feather River is never going to fade away. There’s a fair amount of logic in support of the idea, even if it lacks funding. A bill co-authored by our local legislators could put a little money in the pot, however ... if it finds its way to a sympathetic governor.

The state used to have plans to build that third bridge, and purchased right-of-way for it back in the 1990s. But the state ditched those plans because of a lack of funding and the state will be liquidating the real property that had been acquired. 

Assembly Bill 449 would have the proceeds of the sale of the land come back to the community to help local officials someday take on the task of building that third bridge. The “local alternative transportation improvement program: Feather River crossing bill” is amongst the great horde of bills being considered (or not) by lawmakers in Sacramento. Last year a similar bill (AB 810) passed both the Assembly and Senate, but was vetoed by Jerry Brown.

Our assemblyman, James Gallagher, said it’s worth trying again.

Locals would have to develop an alternative project and submit it for approval with the California Transportation Commission by 2022 before funds are actually awarded.

Proponents say the best location is south of Yuba City, connecting somewhere around Lincoln Road on the Sutter County side and Erle Road on the Yuba County side.

Gallagher said a low-flow crossing would be a realistic approach, rather than the full-scale Fifth Street Bridge now being constructed. A low-water bridge may at times be under by high water, but is designed to withstand inundation.

It would be useable almost all the time.

That seems a little counter-intuitive, at first blush. Part of the reason for having more crossings, you’d think, would be to have multiple routes opened up if there were a potential for major flooding.

A low-water bridge means we’re no worse off in that regard; the real goal of a third bridge is to provide access day in and day out and for most of the year, that happens.

“A third bridge will enhance our economic development opportunities by improving mobility not only between our two counties but also improving connectivity between us and other important job centers in Sacramento and Placer counties,” said Mayor Shon Harris. 

More to our liking, the bridge would cure some of the traffic congestion that tangles up Marysville.

Harris also pointed out it connects Yuba City with the sports and entertainment zone in Yuba County.

As of mid-April, the bill had passed the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Appropriations Committee placed it in the suspense file to allow staff to analyze the bill. It was reported that the committee could decide in May whether or not to push the bill to the Assembly floor for a vote. Then it would go through the Senate and its fate would be up to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Here’s to good luck.

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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