SD officials ready if feds OK stimulus spending

By Dave Schwab

and Laura Petersen

Staff Writers

A number of infrastructure improvement projects in La Jolla and environs are waiting in the wings should a proposed federal infrastructure stimulus package be approved.

The San Diego region is identifying transportation, transit and public works projects that will be ready to put people to work in the next six to 12 months should the stimulus package come to fruition under the Obama administration.

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the region’s transportation planning agency, is orchestrating the region’s public works “wish list,” which includes more than 1,000 projects totaling more than $7.5 billion.

On the list

Included in that list are the following La Jolla area projects:
  • $300,000 for disabled access upgrades at Bird Rock Elementary School.
  • $12 million for extending Carroll Canyon Road from Scranton to Sorrento Valley Road.
  • $451,331 for La Jolla Ecological Reserve Area of Special Biological Significance.
  • $735,000 to construct a right-turn lane from La Jolla Village Drive to Regents Road.
  • $920,000 for a green lot infiltration storm drain at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores.

Ready to go

Bill Harris, deputy press secretary for Mayor Jerry Sanders, said the long lists of public works project in La Jolla and elsewhere in the city of San Diego are not ideas on the drawing board but needed projects already far along in the planning pipeline.

“This is not a wish list,” he said. “It’s what we’ve presented to federal and state governments saying, ‘Should funds become available, these are projects we’ve done the groundwork on in those communities.’ ”

Harris said the Bird Rock Elementary School project, which would provide a sidewalk and disabled access to the school’s playing fields, is part of overall deferred maintenance projects approved by the city but not yet funded.

“That project is high enough up on our priority list that we’d be able to move quickly toward construction,” he said.

On the $12 million Carroll Canyon extension to Sorrento Valley Road, Harris said that project could be advertised for bid and be ready for construction in six months.

Fixing runoff

Nearly $500,000 in funding proposed for the La Jolla Ecological Reserve would be used to make storm drain improvements, said Harris.

“We are under a mandate to closely monitor, and do everything we can, to reduce storm water runoff into La Jolla Bay and the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, which extends from Scripps Pier to the Cove,” he said. “What we are trying to do is retrofit our storm drains to protect the entire watershed from the top of the hill on Soledad down into the flats by La Jolla Bay.”

The La Jolla Village Drive-Regents Road project is in La Jolla’s Golden Triangle area. “It’s for a right-turn lane, median construction and striping, part of the entire upgrade of that Regents Road corridor,” said Harris.

In some areas of the country, proposed public works projects being applied for in any economic stimulus package aren’t expected to have immediate results. That’s not the case in San Diego, said Harris.

“We really think we could have an immediate economic impact, because we have done all the groundwork and legwork, and we’re ready to move on these.”