U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, this month announced he is seeking $19 million for Sacramento County transportation projects, including $2 million for the second phase of the Old Town Elk Grove streetscape project, in a proposed transportation bill.

“Improving our region’s infrastructure is critical to our public safety and creating good-paying jobs,” he said. “That’s why I am proud to have advocated for and secured the inclusion of $19 million in the INVEST in America Act to support vital transportation projects in the Sacramento region. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure this funding is signed into law.”

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the INVEST in America Act on June 10, and the legislation will soon be presented on the House floor for consideration.

Phase I of the Old Town Elk Grove streetscape project was completed in 2006.

That phase was performed along Elk Grove Boulevard, between the railroad tracks and School Street. The project increased the width of Elk Grove Boulevard from 44.7 feet to 60 feet, yet decreased its road space with the placement of a median between the road’s two lanes. In addition, traffic signals were installed at School Street.

The second phase of the streetscape project features improvements along Elk Grove Boulevard, between School Street and Waterman Road.

Included in the plans for this phase are a two-way left turn lane, a travel lane, and buffered bicycle lane in each direction, and frontage improvements on each side of the road.

Continuous sidewalks, landscape strips, bus shelters, and underground utilities are also features within this phase.

Jeff Werner, the city’s public works director, told the Citizen last week that about $4.5 million is programmed for the construction of this project in fiscal year 2023, and that funding for that project will not become available until July 2022.

“I would expect construction to begin sometime that fiscal year and probably complete sometime within the next year or two,” he said. “So, I wouldn’t expect to see the improvements completed, at this point, until calendar year 2023 or 2024. This $2 million is going to help close the gap on the construction of the project.”

Werner expressed appreciation for Bera’s efforts to acquire additional funding for the project.

“We’re really appreciative of the congressman’s recommendation for the funding, and it looks like we’re going to get it,” he said. “So, we’re really excited about it and appreciative.”

Bera told the Citizen last week that he was able to get his top five projects into the bill.

In addition to the potential funding for the Old Town streetscape, Phase 2 project, other projects that Bera is seeking funding for include the replacement of the existing two-lane, undivided portion of White Rock Road with a new, four-lane road with Class II bicycle lanes in Rancho Cordova, and a new Class-1, multiuse trail enhancements to a portion of the Capital SouthEast Connector in Folsom.

As the Sacramento region’s largest approved transportation project, the Connector will link the southern area of Sacramento County to the Silva Valley Parkway interchange in El Dorado County to the east. It will serve as a connection between Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Folsom. The project aims to link Interstate 5 and Highway 99, south of Elk Grove, to Highway 50, east of El Dorado Hills.

Bera noted that the Folsom project is significant for Elk Grove.

“Anything with the Connector is going to be important to (Elk Grove), because of how we get from the south part of the county to the north part of the county,” he said.

He added that he feels confident that the bill will be approved.

“These are projects that will have impact with how we live and move around the region,” Bera said. “We’re going to do everything we can. I’m confident we will pass this legislation, this bill, out of the House, and these ($19 million in projects) will be part of that bill. And then, let’s push on the Senate to get this to the president’s desk.”