Mere days after California legislators passed an historic gas tax increase, highway planners are already salivating over using the money to build new freeways:
“Perhaps the most exciting thing Senate Bill 1 provides for Fremont, Caltrans and all of Silicon Valley is the opportunity to finally get the State Route 262-Mission Boulevard connector between I-880 and I-680 upgraded to a full freeway. The concept being pursued is a below-grade expressway allowing traffic to pass through without stopping at the two signals at Warm Springs and Mohave.
“This corridor is practically congested 24/7 and uncorking this bottleneck should be a welcome relief for daily commuters to Silicon Valley jobs, Silicon Valley’s weekend warriors heading to Tahoe, and increasingly for truckers hauling shiny new electric vehicles emerging from the Tesla Motors factory.
“This project was previously thought as unfundable due to anemic levels of state funding, but SB 1 has changed that. There is now over $500 million available annually for improving congested corridors and freight corridors. I can’t imagine there are many more worthy highway corridors across the state for this investment than 262.”
The gas tax increase was sold as a way to close the maintenance deficit in California’s roads, not to build new highways.
Moreover, the SR-262 is the most useless highway project imaginable. It would blight the commercial district near the $1 billion newly-built Warm Springs BART station, while doing absolutely nothing to improve automobile congestion.