Solano agency gets $10.8M for regional transit upgrades

May 02 2018

Daily Republic By Todd R. Hansen

SUISUN CITY — Thirteen electrical SolanoExpress regional buses will be added as the Solano Transportation Authority uses nearly $11 million in state funding through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program.

Charging stations and other maintenance yard upgrades are also targeted.

Solano Transportation Authority received about $10.79 million from the Transit and Intercity Rail program, funded through the state’s cap-and-trade program and enhanced by Senate Bill 1 transportation dollars. The Solano agency had applied for about $20 million.

“It’s all cap-and-trade, but because of SB 1, (the state) had quite a bit more money available for grants,” said Janet Adams, project manager for the Solano Transportation Authority.

The SolanoExpress regional bus system is operated by the countywide agency in partnership with Fairfield and Suisun Transit and Solano County Transit.

“This infusion of funding will increase frequency and reduce travel time on a restructured, zero-emission, electrified SolanoExpress system, capital improvements at three strategic locations, electrification of 13 buses in its long-haul fleet, and replacement of 14 aging diesel buses on the local system,” according to a statement released by the Solano Transportation Authority announcing the grant. “SolanoExpress connects Solano County to Sacramento and a number of Bay Area communities including the Walnut Creek and El Cerrito del Norte BART stations, as well as the Vallejo Ferry Terminal.”

In addition to the 13 buses for FAST and SolTrans, at a cost of $2.7 million, another $1 million will be used for electrical upgrades at the maintenance yard and $1 million will pay for overhead charging stations that can accommodate 10 buses per station.

Three capital improvement projects totaling $5.9 million are also on the list:

Improvements to the Fairgrounds Drive and Highway 37 interchange, as well as bicycle and pedestrian access ($1.1 million).

Improvements to the Santa Clara Avenue bus stop in Vallejo ($1.8 million).

Improvements to slip ramps, as well as bicycle and pedestrian access ($3 million).

“With resources such as the SolanoExpress regional bus service, two Capitol Corridor train stations, a ferry terminal and connections to BART and Sacramento Regional Transit, Solano County will now have the opportunity to better integrate all of these services and offer convenient and reliable transit options to commuters,” Solano Transportation Authority board chairman Pete Sanchez said in a statement announcing the grant.

“These funds will help considerably as we launch the SolanoExpress Phase 1 Implementation on July 1, which streamlines the system from seven routes to three, and improves performance and travel opportunities for our riders,” added Sanchez, who is also mayor of Suisun City.

Cap-and-trade is a strategy with the objective to reduce greenhouse gasses through market investment into green technologies and other reduction options.

The baseline goals of greenhouse gas reduction were set in 2013 with the target of reducing those emissions by 3 percent each year to reach 1990 levels by 2020.