Bridge project pries funds from Folsom freeway interchange plan

By: Roger Phelps, The Telegraph
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Rising costs in the Folsom Lake Crossing bridge project will force a switch of money away from a new freeway interchange for a southern Folsom annex. A move by Folsom will raise to $44.6 million the share it so far has put into the bridge project. The city will devote $1.14 million in state Prop. 1B money to Folsom Lake Crossing, according to a Sept. 9 decision by City Council members. The largely federally funded project is overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The Corps has us apprised of cost increases, not unusual in a project of this size,” said Rich Lorenz, city engineer. State Prop. 1B money will be shifted to the bridge from construction of an overpass and interchange for Oak Avenue Parkway and U.S. Highway 50 to serve a planned 3,600-acre southern Folsom annex. Prop. 1B money carries a broad range of earmarks – including for highway expansion, mitigating air pollution and public transit, but was called flawed by critics such as the non-profit Transportation and Land Use Coalition because its $20 billion general obligation bond must be repaid with interest from the state’s General Fund over 30 years. “Drawing from the General Fund for transportation improvements would reduce the funding available in future years for education, health care, social services, and public safety,” TALC officials said in a published report. The total estimated project cost for Folsom Lake Crossing, originally pegged at $117 million, is now more than $132 million, according to a city Web site. Folsom’s contribution until now has come primarily from the allocation of Sacramento County’s Measure A tax renewal, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2006. A $74.7 million construction contract was awarded to Kiewit Pacific Company of Concord in early 2007. The money switch to the bridge will not jeopardize the parkway project or the planned annexation, Lorenz said. The state money has a use-or-lose time stricture calling for spending by mid-2011, city documents show.