Supes keep options open in White Rock Connector JPA

By From page A1 | July 24, 2013

At the July 16 meeting, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward on two actions related to the Elk Grove-Ranch Cordova-El Dorado County Connector Authority Agreement (White Rock Connector JPA).

The actions included requesting that the Joint Powers Agreement for the Connector Authority be amended to reserve the county’s right to consider any proposed exercise of eminent domain within its jurisdiction prior to the Connector JPA taking action, and to reserve El Dorado County’s right to consider any action to financially obligate the county prior to the Connector JPA taking action.

The board voted 3-1 to approve both measures, with Supervisor Ray Nutting excusing himself and Board Chairman Ron Briggs voting against both measures.

Staff also asked the board to provide them with direction regarding the addition of the Silva Valley Interchange and other improvements on the Capital Southeast Connector to the JPA financing plan.

In a separate interview on the topic, Briggs said the items were before the board because of plans in the area south of Folsom (in Sacramento County) to build anywhere from 35,000 to 40,000 homes. The property is owned by several different developers, with the primary developer being AKT Development.

Initially Caltrans wanted an Elk Grove connector along Highway 50. Developers also wanted new intersections built in the area. When Caltrans threw out the project several years ago, Sacramento County offered to arrange federal financing for the projects, however it could only do so if it was a regional project, which is where El Dorado County came in. Subsequently El Dorado County  joined Sacramento County in what’s called the White Rock Connector JPA (Joint Powers Agreement).

Briggs said the primary projects the county was interested in funding with its membership in the JPA were the Silva Valley and White Rock-Latrobe expansions. But he said in the intervening period, the county went ahead and built the White Rock-Latrobe expansion and recently went out to bid for the Silva interchange, which is being paid for with developer’s fees. He said the county has asked to be reimbursed for these projects, but the JPA has said it won’t be reimbursed for projects already built.

Briggs said he would prefer to exit the JPA altogether, but the other three members of the board are not convinced, apparently because they still hope the JPA will eventually reimburse the county for what it has already spent for Silva Valley and White Rock-Latrobe. But Briggs maintains there is no benefit to the county to sign on to a debt instrument for projects already paid for.

Briggs added that if the JPA won’t make a commitment to the county to reimburse it for those two projects and EDC decides to withdraw from the JPA, Sacramento County will no longer qualify for the funds and would lose $564 million in federal funding.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter

Dawn Hodson

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