The city of San Mateo will receive $23.8 million in funding to complete its 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project after the San Mateo County Transportation Authority voted to grant the funding to the city last week.
The decision came at the Jan. 7 San Mateo County Transportation Authority meeting. The Caltrain 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project, which is around 85% finished, has overrun construction costs of $25.9 million. The city of San Mateo has agreed to pay $2.1 million to finish the project, while the remaining $23.8 million will now come from the Transportation Authority.
If the authority had not approved the additional funding, the project would likely not have finished. The project will improve connections between the east and west sides of San Mateo, reduce traffic congestion and create new grade-separated crossings throughout various Caltrain stations. The current total project cost has now increased to $205.9 million, with San Mateo’s total contribution to the project at $14.1 million. San Mateo is the sponsor of the overall project, while Caltrain has handled the construction and financial overview of the project.
San Mateo Mayor Eric Rodriguez spoke during the meeting about the project’s importance to the city, citing how transportation improvement projects reduce congestion, increase safety and encourage development.
“Your support now will help get today’s project through the finish line and help Caltrain make good on the promises that it’s made to our community,” Rodriguez said.
San Mateo Councilwoman Diane Papan said the project’s strategic location makes it an important regional project that will have an impact on transportation in the region.
“We are in the eleventh hour. We know this is a lot of money, and this is a big ask, but I just can’t stress enough that your aye vote is really imperative to bringing this important regional project to the finish line,” Papan said.
Members of the authority board asked Caltrain officials at the meeting about the project’s financial difficulties and why it was in trouble at this stage. The authority board ultimately unanimously voted to support the funding resolution, although it expressed deep concern the project was in such a precarious place and asked for more information and accountability from Caltrain in the future. Caltrain officials cited COVID-19 cost overruns and issues with the relocation of a gas line and two fiber-optic lines as significant reasons for financial cost overruns.
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