Dear Chair Eager:
On behalf of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, I write in strong support of the Tulare County Association of Government's Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) application (SR 99 Tulare City Project). The SR 99 Tulare City Project is another step in completing the SR 99 multi-modal corridor thereby eliminating key bottlenecks, increasing safety, reducing congestion, increasing connectivity, improving travel-time reliability of time sensitive goods, preserving acceptable facility operation on SR 99, and connecting pedestrian bicycle and transit access across SR 99 on Paige Avenue.
- Multimodal Mobility: The SR 99 Tulare City Project would provide enhanced multimodal options for traveling between the east and west side of the city, linking a disadvantaged residential community with commercial and industrial job centers that are currently disconnected from multimodal access.
- Economic Prosperity: Over 44 percent of all employment in the San Joaquin Valley is associated with goods movement-dependent industries, which is higher than goods movement-related employment in all other regions of California. By enabling greater access on this key freight conidor, the SR 99 Tulare City Project will grow the national and international economic competitiveness of California's freight sector through increased system efficiency and productivity.
- Environmental Stewardship: The SR 99 Tulare City Project is one of the first projects to undergo SB 743 review and includes more robust multimodal mitigations to reduce community impacts beyond the direct benefits achieved by improving freight throughput and the inclusion of active transportation elements on the Paige A venue Interchange.
- Safety and Resilience: Where SR 99 changes from four-lanes to six-lanes and back to four-lanes again, bottlenecks create congestion and serious safety issues. The SR 99 Tulare City Project will reduce freight-related deaths as well as other passenger travel by eliminating a bottleneck along this congested corridor. In addition, the improvements to the Paige A venue Interchange will provide for safe multimodal access connecting the east and west side of the City that does not exist today at that location.
- Asset Management: The SR 99 Tulare City Project helps complete, improve, and modernize the existing state highway systems and uses cost-beneficial treatments as indicated in the State Highway System Management Plan. The project will lead to improvements in terms of state-of-good repair goals.
- Connectivity and Accessibility: By adding transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and ADA access and facilities on Paige A venue, the SR 99 Tulare City Project will increase transportation choices and improve system connectivity between the east and west side of the City traversing SR 99.
The SR 99 Tulare City Project meets all the TCEP's goals and desired outcomes, including multimodal mobility, economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, safety, state-of-good-repair, healthy communities, advancing the transition to zero-emission freight-related vehicles, connectivity and accessibility, and robust community mitigations.
For these reasons, we are pleased to lend our enthusiastic support for the SR 99 Tulare Six-lane and Paige Avenue Interchange Improvement Project. We urge the California Transportation Commission to award TCEP funding for this project.
Eddie Valero, Chair
Tulare County Board of Supervisors