Documenter: Josef Sibala
Here’s what you need to know
The State Route 41 from “Elkhorn to Excelsior” is included in the Transport Improvement Fund for 2021 and will initially be financed through local funds.
According to the conformity tests reviewed by EPA, the 2021 Federal Transportation Improvement Plan Amendment No. 3 and the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan Amendment No. 5 met the environmental benchmarks. However, the Fresno Council of Governments (Fresno COG) waits for EPA review on other conformity tests.
The Fresno Council of Governments (Fresno COG), according to its website, develops sensible policies to problems beyond “party boundaries.” Within the Fresno COG, citizens are “involved” in the plans, and “technical services” are given to its members.
Since 1969, the Fresno COG, which consists of local governments and regional planning agencies, have tackled “comprehensive regional planning,” particularly in transportation.
Due to COVID-19, The Fresno COG held the hearing on Thursday, June 3, 2021, at 5:00 p.m., with participants accessing the meeting by phone or Zoom. Additional documents were available on its website.
The hearing corresponds with state officials supporting the widening of Highway 41 from “Elkhorn to Excelsior avenues.” Proponents such as Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) argued for the plan due to safety. First, however, the proposal awaits funding to be included in the Transport Improvement Plan for 2022.
Names of Officials/Participants
Persons present in the meeting are the following:
Braden Duran, Associate Regional Planner, available for questions about conformity of projects to air pollution standards and other measurements).
Suzanne Martinez, Associate Regional Planner, available for questions about the FTIP and RTP Amendments and programming)
First, Associate Regional Planner Martinez reported on the draft 2021 Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP) Amendment No. 3. She said that the program includes a “list of transportation projects aimed for the next four years” and is funded by federal and state money. The projects seek to increase capacity. Then, she clarified that local funds would initially finance State Route 41 from Elkhorn to Excelsior avenues.
Next, she noted that the Draft 2018 Regional Transportation Plan Amendment No. 5 is a “long-term strategy” that includes transportation projects in Fresno County. Likewise, the existing projects, intended to boost capacity, complied with the conformity budgets reviewed by the EPA. Hence, the plan needed no Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
Meanwhile, Associate Regional Planner Duran pointed out the Draft 2021 Conformity Analysis findings, which concluded that the amendments followed “environmental benchmarks,” especially on ozone and particulate matter.
However, they are waiting for EPA review on other conformity budgets, such as the SJV 2016 Moderate Area PM2.5 Plan for the 2012 PM2.5 standard and 2018 PM2.5 Plan addressing the 1997 PM2.5 and 2012 PM2.5 serious nonattainment area requirements.
With no questions submitted via email and Zoom, the public hearing was closed at 5:30 pm.
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