City must ‘re-identify’ stimulus projects after list muffed

Monterey Street in Hollister is shown. Residential streets identified on the city's original list of stimulus funding projects are ineligible for the money, officials learned this week.

Hollister officials will have to

re-identify

a new list of roads to be funded by more than $800,000 in
stimulus package dollars slated for the city because the initial
roster of improvement projects did not fit under federal
guidelines, an engineering official told the Free Lance.
HOLLISTER

Hollister officials will have to “re-identify” a new list of roads to be funded by more than $800,000 in stimulus package dollars slated for the city because the initial roster of improvement projects did not fit under federal guidelines, an engineering official told the Free Lance.

Hollister’s first list of recommended projects submitted for the funds – a small piece of the larger stimulus package intended to create jobs and boost the economy – included minor repairs and pouring of asphalt overlay on various residential streets. The city is scheduled to receive an $811,000 injection toward what originally had been scheduled as $1.5 million in overlay projects.

Those projects were scheduled for inclusion in “Tier 1” of two tiers slated for county road improvements – which, as a whole, are being overseen by the Council of San Benito County Governments. The first grouping is required to be ready for progress within 120 days, while the second tier would move forward by August 2010.

Also included in Tier 1 were $811,000 in funds for the county toward $850,000 in overlay improvements to Southside Road and COG’s purchase for $374,000 of four replacement buses and a minivan for transit.

County public works official Arman Nazemi confirmed that San Benito’s project slated for the Tier 1 funds, an overlay on Southside Road, remains eligible for the funds because it is classified as a “major collector” and fits under the rules.

Hollister engineering official David Rubcic, who oversees road maintenance, confirmed that he “just found out” three days ago the city’s projects are ineligible and leaders would need to compile a new list. He noted, however, that Hollister still is set to receive the same amount of funding, just for different projects that do fit the guidelines.

Engineering officials, therefore, are in talks about which projects to recommend and Rubcic expects to have a new list finished this week, he said.

“We’re going to use (the funds) on roads, and the roads that we had originally identified aren’t eligible,” he said. “We have to go back and re-identify roads.”

Rubcic explained that officials had not realized the federal government’s requirement to spend the funds on projects for “major collectors” and how the pathways identified on the first list known as “local roads” – which are residential side streets – do not qualify.

Examples of roads that fit under the major collector classification are Westside Boulevard, Buena Vista Road and Nash Road, Rubcic said.

He noted that Westside Boulevard and Buena Vista Road both have been the focus of improvements in recent years, so they likely would not be high priorities. Though nothing is guaranteed, he said, one possibility for the funds is a small portion of Nash Road near the high school that needs repairs.

Leave your comments