SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The widening projects in a time table to relieve congestion on Highway 101 are coming in from two key tax sources.
The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) says a grant of $184 million has just been allocated for the Highway 101 HOV Project. That money came from the State Transportation Commission. This is in addition to the $22 million approved last month by the California Transportation Agency.
Overall various grants have now totaled $431 million for the freeway work and associated projects on bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.
A local tax for transportation projects has generated funds to position the project for state grants and the use of state gas tax money, which is increasing significantly after a recent voter approved measure.
Scott Eades with Caltrans said, "....without this funding we will be years away from meeting construction. With this funding we are going to begin in a short time and again it will provide the congestion relief."
The timeline is still about eight years away from full completion from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara.
The current phase of work is on bridge projects in Carpinteria to widen them and make room for two new lanes. After that, the funding from the state and additional funds in the years ahead will help pay for the widening from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara
SBCAG spokesperson Gregg Hart said, "probably will take four years for the next segment that we are talking about from Carpinteria to up to Sheffield interchange and including that. Then after that another four years after that to finish the entire job."
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann says, " that will finish the project and get traffic moving again." She said the work for the highway widening has been underway for years and the funding is coming now in part because the plans are ready.