San Mateo Transportation Authority grants city US$23.8m for road project

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The city of San Mateo received US$23.8 million from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority earlier on during the year to fund the completion of a road grade separation project that saw its budget increase in the last stages of the project. The Transportation Authority approved the funding for grade separation which entails raising train tracks and lowering the roadway with the benefits of increased safety and less traffic congestion at railroad crossings. San Mateo’s project involves grade separation at East 25th Avenue, completing east-west street connections at 28th and 31st avenues, and building an elevated Hillsdale station with updated amenities.

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Planning for the project began nearly twenty years ago and construction began in the fall of 2017 and is scheduled for completion this fall. However, due to delays, the project cost had risen from US$180 million to US$205.9 million. The city learned of the US$25.9 million shortfalls last month. Without additional funding from the Transportation Authority, the project would have been stalled or downsized. The city of San Mateo contributed an additional US$2.1 million to cover extra costs and requested the other US$23.8 from the Transportation Authority. So far, the project is 85% complete; the track is already separated from vehicular traffic while work on the Hillsdale station and other road work is ongoing.

Moving forward, the Transportation Authority requested more accountability from Caltrain and the city of San Mateo regarding the project’s funding, such as quarterly reports. Despite its support for the 25th Avenue project, the Transportation Authority worried about funding for other grade separation projects in the county, located at South San Francisco and San Bruno, Menlo Park, and Burlingame. The Burlingame project at Broadway is furthest along. It is in the final design phase and is likely next in line for construction funding while the other projects are in the early stages.