Coronado Council Starts Down The Road To Relinquishment Of State Routes 75 And 282 - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Coronado Council Starts Down The Road To Relinquishment Of State Routes 75 And 282

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 1:17 pm | Updated: 1:31 pm, Thu Sep 12, 2019.

The topic of relinquishment, in this case the City of Coronado negotiating with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to acquire control and operation of State Routes 75 and 282, officially started rolling down the road during the City Council meeting of Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. An agenda item that would authorize City Manager Blair King to engage in negotiations with Caltrans for the 9.79 miles of roadway in question, was presented, questioned, discussed and voted on, all in just under an hour.

Specifically, the 9.79 miles of roadway include SR 75 from Tulagi Road to the Southern City limits; SR 75 from Glorietta Boulevard to Tulagi Road; and the full portion of SR 282 including Third, Fourth, and Alameda between Third and Fourth Streets. The staff recommendation was to pursue the relinquishment of all three segments of roadway.

State Senator Toni Atkins (D-39th District) has agreed to facilitate the transaction, which ultimately requires legislative action, with the bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

The big turnaround for this council from the stance taken by their predecessors, was the fact that the now-public Caltrans operational numbers reflect the transaction to be cost positive for the City of Coronado. During a presentation to the Council by City Director of Public Services and Engineering Cliff Maurer, it was revealed that Caltrans receives an annual financial allotment through the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) of $900,000, of which a total of between $250,000 and $280,000 is actually spent in Coronado, with the balance of the funding directed to other areas within Caltrans. Upping the maintenance level to Coronado standards, essentially doubling the existing Caltrans expenditures, would still leave a projected balance Coronado could place into a sinking fund for future road maintenance.

For anyone who has taken on an Orange Avenue pothole in a one-on-one matchup, Caltrans moving $650,000 out of Coronado on an annual basis, doesn’t create a personal happy place.

The other major financial component that may make this transaction financially feasible, is a potentially large lump-sum payment from Caltrans to the City of Coronado to bring the 9.79 miles of roadway to an acceptable condition. The first dollar figure run up the proverbial flagpole by Caltrans was for $16.95 million with a projected payout in 2020-21. Coronado’s consultants from Rick Engineering Company put the number for a 2022 payout at $24 million.

Another issue Coronado would include in the transaction is that Caltrans would commit to providing catastrophic damage response capabilities, within the limitations of their available resources. The downside for Coronado is the city would now own 9.79 miles of roadway and a bridge near the Cays, with all of the related operations and maintenance expenses, forever. This transaction comes with a very large sign reading, ‘All Transactions Final.’

King addressed the insurance ramifications of the transaction, including Coronado is part of a Joint Powers Agreement called the CSAC Excess Insurance Authority, which is a risk-sharing pool that proactively helps control losses and prepare for different exposures. Through that entity, the city is self-insured for a $250,000 deductible per incident, with coverage up to $50 million. King said, “We are currently participating in a pool with others (cities) doing this (managing roads) already.”

Councilmembers asked a number of questions regarding relinquishment. The staff proposal would add only one full-time equivalent employee to the city payroll and Maurer said the majority of the new workload would be accomplished by contract. Councilmember Bill Sandke asked Maurer if the long-term commitment to relinquishment by the council would be in the city’s best interests. Maurer replied with perhaps a touch of understatement, “Yes, I’m confident we can do a better job than Caltrans.”

Under the Public Comment portion of the discussion, Anna Shepherd, the Liaison for Naval Base Coronado, requested the Navy be involved in the negotiations between Coronado and Caltrans, as elements of both SR 75 and 282 are part of the Strategic Highway Network, and are a key part of the national defense strategy. She added 20,000 Navy personnel travel through the main gate of NAS North Island daily; there are 34,000 Navy personnel in San Diego and surrounding counties; and the Navy owns a portion of SR 75 from in front of the Naval Amphibious Base and down the Strand to Imperial Beach. Shepherd said, “We are requesting coordination with the City and Caltrans and we would like to include the Navy in the development of any cooperative agreement.”

That concept didn’t fly for Coronado City Attorney Johanna Canlas, who said, “Legally there is no role for them (the Navy). The contract would be between the City and the State. To include them in the negotiations would not be the best way to do it.” City Manager King said, “We are in communication with the leadership of Naval Base Coronado. For them to be included in the negotiations would be difficult. We (Coronado) don’t want to be singled out. We want to be treated similarly to Imperial Beach.”

Councilmember Mike Donovan said, “The lynch pin is the lump sum payment and that is the key negotiating point. We got a number (from Caltrans) I think is low. There is a fair amount of time between the completion of an agreement and when they get the road. In the two plus years between, the (value of) the money is eroding, which should be part of the negotiation. Councilmember Marvin Heinze concurred with Donovan and said, “I’m not sure about the rosiness of the economic report. I am encouraged by the technical report. We need to negotiate an appropriate amount of money to get the road into good shape. Hopefully the City Staff will push forward with the state.” The motion to pursue relinquishment negotiations with Caltrans passed 5-0.

In other council actions:

As part of the Consent Calendar, the Council authorized City Manager King to execute a new three-year contract for the Coronado Commuter Ferry with Flagship Cruises and Events.

Also under Consent, the Council approved the issuance of a change order in an amount not to exceed $30,000 for the construction costs related to the Fourth Street and Alameda Boulevard Improvements Project. City Engineer Ed Walton indicated an unexpected complication for the project was encountering ground water during drilling for the foundations for the light poles.

Via a public hearing, the Council reversed the decision of the Historic Resource Commission for the residence at 545 Alameda Boulevard. Previously the property was deemed historic and couldn’t be altered in any significant way. The vote to support the appeal for reversal was 4-1 with Donovan voting against the motion. The owners of the property, the Tucker Family Trust, don’t plan to tear down the house, but instead are asking to dramatically improve it, according to their legal counsel.

Another public hearing found the council filling the seven spots on the newly created Mobility Commission, which is a combination of the former Transportation Commission and the Bicycle Advisory Committee. The seven new Commissioners include: Russell Boelhauf, Cauleen Glass, Alexander Jackson, Francis King, Morgan Miller, Jason Paguio and Howard Somers. The length of the commissioners’ terms was determined by lot, with Paguio, Jackson and Glass earning three-year terms; Somers and Boelhauf earned two-year terms; and Miller and King were awarded one-year terms.

The council meeting covered a span of three hours and 10 minutes.

The next meeting of the Coronado City Council will be held Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, at 4 p.m. City Council meetings are held at City Hall, located at 1825 Strand Way in Coronado.

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