Some Truckee projects escape state funding freeze
December 19, 2008
NEVADA COUNTY ” State budget woes will not affect local infrastructure projects like improvements to Donner Pass Road in Truckee, but could delay safety improvements to the Mousehole and funding for development in the Railyard.
An obscure body called the Pooled Money Investment Board, which oversees the pooled money investment account of funds from bond sales, voted 3-0 to freeze $3.8 billion in funds for almost 2,000 infrastructure projects throughout California, ranging from highway improvements to new schools.
But most projects in Truckee, including the Donner Pass Road project and the Gray’s Crossing Affordable housing, will not be affected because the town has already received the funding, according to Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.
The Donner Pass Road rehabilitation project includes $71 million to completely rebuild the highway and bring it up to current safety standards, according to Caltrans.
The bond freeze could affect future projects, like safety enhancements to the Mousehole and the large-scale Railyard development proposal.
One project on the list that appears to be a mistake is nearly $1 million for Community Recovery Resources to purchase a facility for recovering drug addicts in Truckee.
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“The money’s already been let go and we have it in hand,” said Warren Daniels of CORR, in Grass Valley.
Other projects, including the $40 million project to re-align the LaBarr Meadows intersection, depends on the money frozen by the board. Improvements to Nevada Union High School also could be on hold.
As the state continues to struggle with a budget shortfall, it’s becoming more difficult for the state to sell bonds, which finance such projects. But it’s the sale of bonds that replenishes the investment account, according to Nevada County’s Transportation Commission Executive Director Dan Landon.
“This is a concrete consequence of the failure of the Legislature to deal with the budget problem,” H.D. Palmer, deputy director for the State Department of Finance in Sacramento, told The Union.
In a statement, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a member of the panel, called the decision “extremely regrettable.” “We had no other option to keep crucial public services operating as long as possible.”
Trina Kleist with the Grass Valley Union contributed to this story.
It remained unclear how the decision to stop the funding could affect other Nevada County projects on the list, including:
– The Deer Creek Tribute Trail and restoration project, with several hundred thousand dollars in question;
– A project with Environmental Alternatives for nearly $684,000;
– A project with the Salvation Army for $824,000.