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The Thomas Roads Improvement Program (TRIP) is a cooperative effort between the City of Bakersfield, County of Kern,Caltrans and the Kern Council of Governments. The program was named in honor of former Congressman William M. Thomas, who led the effort to secure $630 million for area road projects in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA: LU).
TRIP projects have been identified as necessary to relieve the stress on outdated infrastructure, caused by years of rapid growth in population, interregional travel, and freight movement. The projects will facilitate regional mobility, economic growth and development, as well as reduce travel time through major transportation corridors.
The TRIP office is staffed with personnel from the City, County, Caltrans and Parsons, the program management consultant. The City, County and Caltrans serve as operational leads on various projects, but the entire team works cooperatively in the effort to accelerate schedules and move the projects toward completion.
Kern County Grand Jury Report - TRIP
The Kern County Grand Jury's report on the Thomas Roads Improvement Program has been released. The Kern County Grand Jury investigates and reports on Departments of the County and Cities within the County. The Administration and Audit Committee of the 2014-2015 Kern County Grand Jury conducted an investigation of TRIP within the limits of the Grand Jury's jurisdiction.
F1. The Committee found, thus far, all projects are under budget except one.
F2. The City's foresight prevented what could have been much higher land acquisition costs for the Westside
Parkway and precluded much of the mitigation needed when a developed area is transected by a freeway.
As the Thomas Roads Improvement Program brings much needed relief to east-west traffic flow issues in the Bakersfield area, the citizens of Kern County should recognize the former US Congressman for his role in the legislation creating SAFETEA-LU and TRIP. As a final note, the downturn in the economy beginning in 2007 created conditions leading to much more competitive bidding on TRIP projects which held down costs and deterred the cost overruns often found in these types of multi-year projects.
R1. The City continue its efforts to move forward with all TRIP projects.
Read the full report
Kern County Grand Jury Website
Centennial Corridor Early Acquisition
In February, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved early release of $165 million to the City of Bakersfield to acquire right-of-way for the Centennial Corridor project. Bakersfield City Council voted to move forward with the early acquisition process at the Wednesday, March 5, 2014 meeting.
Under recent federal legislation, known as “The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (“MAP-21”), 23 USC 108, Congress authorized both Caltrans and eligible local public agencies to perform certain early acquisition activities. The purposes of early acquisition include expediting project delivery, creating jobs, and reducing hardship for those who own property in the proposed path of a project and who encounter difficulties when they seek to sell their property before final project approval. Early acquisition allows owners to voluntarily sell and relocate if they wish. Early acquisition has the potential to mitigate the disruptions and hardships that lengthy project schedules can impose on a community.
The Eminent Doman process is not allowed during early acquisition and properties acquired would not be demolished unless and until the environmental review process is complete. The properties would be preserved and monitored; and in most cases, made available for rent. If the project is not approved, the properties would be sold with the proceeds going to the City and federal government in proportion to the amounts each agency contributed to the acquisition.
Property owners whose properties are located within the path of the proposed Centennial Corridor project, and wish to sell their properties prior to the completion of the enviornmental review process, should contact:
Overland, Pacific, & Cutler