• Chamber Appears at MTC meeting in Support of Marin- Sonoma Narrows Funding

    January 31, 2018

    San Rafael Chamber CEO, Joanne Webster spoke at a recent Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) meeting on January 24th along with Marin Economic Forum CEO, Robin Sternberg and North Bay Leadership Council CEO, Cynthia Murray in support of funding to complete the Marin Sonoma Narrows.

    The Chamber interviews hundreds of employers each year across all types and sizes to identify any obstacles to growth. They consistently list traffic congestion at the top of their list of concerns impacting their ability to recruit and retain workers to fill jobs in Marin. Completing the widening of Highway 101 and closing the gap through both Sonoma and Marin is a critical need in the North Bay.

    MTC is adopting a final recommendation for an SB1 program called Solutions for Congested Corridors. This program is meant to fund major congesting relieving highway or transit projects and the legislation specifically named Marin Sonoma Highway 101- the Narrows. It was put into the text by the author Jim Beall, primarily at the behest of our Senator Mike McGuire. There is $1Billion available, applications are due now, early February,  and it is decided upon in May by the CTC.
    The concern was that MTC is recommending finishing the Narrows in Sonoma, but not Marin. The reasoning is that Sonoma is ready to go- they can start construction next Spring of 2019 and Marin is still designing and cannot start construction until Spring of 2020. MTC  also has candidates in San Mateo and Santa Clara on Highway 101, also mentioned in the legislation, that they want to fund. And MTC is giving preference to a project in Solano- also ready sooner. Caltrans and MTC are in agreement on what to fund. 

    Caltrans and MTC are focused on  getting projects out to construction that can break ground soon-  to show SB1 is working ( and send a message not to repeal). This most important factor of when the project breaks ground and having no major constraints to delivery puts several projects ahead of Marin’s segment of the Marin Sonoma Narrows:
    The Chamber became aware that the Transportation Authority of Marin is diligently working with CalTrans and the Sonoma Transportation Authority and moving forward to design the remaining segment of the narrows. The agreed date to be ready for construction has been set for April 2020. With this knowledge, the Chamber believes that we can be under construction in 2 years.

    Understanding that other projects in the Bay Area may be of more urgent nature at this time, we still wanted to attend the meeting and keep the Marin segment on the commission's radar. We respectfully requested that the Marin Narrows be considered as a top candidate for a contingency list if other SB1 projects fail to proceed and also asked MTC to prioritize us in Regional Measure 3 (RM3) if approved by voters.

    Joanne Webster, President and CEO
    (415) 454-4163