Local News

Saturday, Nov 17 2012 06:22 PM

Caltrans releases details on corridor routes

By The Bakersfield Californian

The California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, on Friday released more detail about the number of homes and buildings it would demolish if the Centennial Corridor project proceeds using the Alternative B route.

The project is the biggest of the Thomas Roads Improvement Program projects Bakersfield is undertaking to expand its roads. It will link Highway 58 to the Westside Parkway and eventually Interstate 5.

According to Caltrans, Alternative B would mean taking down 207 single-family homes, 15 multi-family residential buildings (with 103 units in total) and 36 commercial buildings and four "other" properties. Caltrans also would acquire 38 vacant parcels for the project.

On top of that, Caltrans would acquire parts of 129 other properties, including parts of 34 residential and multi-family parcels, six agricultural sites, a dozen vacant lots and 15 commercial or industrial sites.

The added details came one day after Caltrans said it was recommending Alternative B out of three possible routes that had been on the table. Alternative B is the cheapest, at about $570 million. Caltrans said it chose that route because the others would damage local parks or historic properties.

If the project is built, construction likely wouldn't start until 2015.

The state Department of Finance is challenging repayment of another $3.5 million in Bakersfield's redevelopment debt, according to a memo from City Manager Alan Tandy Friday. Part of the latest amount is included in the $28 million of debt the state agency already said it will block repayment of for redevelopment projects in Bakersfield.

Since state legislators ended redevelopment last year, the state Department of Finance has been combing through lists of debts the agencies had on their books from building redevelopment projects. The state has to approve each debt in order for the entities that monitor the repayment of the debt to keep getting property tax money to pay the bills. For Bakersfield, that means if the city can't get property tax money to pay all those debts, as it had when redevelopment agencies still operated, some debt might have to be repaid from the city's pocket.

The new challenge relates to low- and moderate-income housing funds and other funds of the city's former redevelopment agency, Tandy said. Tandy said the city will appeal the state's latest decision.

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