The California Transportation Commission has approved an $86 million increase to Caltrans' State Route 99 Rehabilitation Project for next fiscal year, to be used to improve part of 24th Street at 99, according to City Manager Alan Tandy's most recent weekly memo to the Bakersfield City Council.

The City of Bakersfield and Caltrans were able to add the section of 24th Street — from the Kern River Bridge to 99 — into the rehab project. This so-called Segment 1 project involves widening 24th to four lanes in the westbound direction, expanding the 99 southbound loop on-ramp to two lanes and expanding the northbound 99 off-ramp, Tandy's memo says.

Caltrans expects to bid out the rehab project in about a year and Segment 1 will be one of the first pieces of work done under it, the memo goes on to say.

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Meanwhile, Caltrans said Monday that the CTC has allocated nearly $593 million to 124 transportation projects that will reduce traffic delays, repair aging roads and bridges and encourage biking and walking.

Local projects funded included:

• $37.3 million for pavement rehabilitation and roadway upgrades to a five-mile segment of Highway 58 from Cottonwood Road to 0.3 mile east of the Highway 58/Highway 184 separation to repair damage caused by winter storms and heavy freight traffic.

• $26.8 million for pavement and shoulder rehabilitation of the Highway 99 truck lane from Herring Road to Pacheco Road, replacing the existing truck lane with 14-foot-wide reinforced concrete pavement.

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Kern County will receive almost $370,000 to improve its public transit systems as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California.

Bakersfield's transit system, Golden Empire Transit, will receive $245,439 in cap-and-trade funds to buy three new 40-foot, battery-run buses.

Kern Regional Transit will receive two grants of about $62,150 to add service hours on Mondays for its route from Boron to Mojave and add one trip each weekday to its route from Bakersfield to Delano.

Cap and trade is an often-controversial program in California that caps the amount of greenhouse gases companies can emit. Its purpose is to encourage industries to invest in clean energy by fining them if they emit more than their caps.

The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program directs money toward transportation projects that reduce GHG emissions and help disadvantaged communities in California.

“This program is one of the methods Caltrans is using to help the state meet its ambitious goals to address climate change,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a statement. “Building a more sustainable public transportation system involves not only making it more climate friendly, but also more efficient and affordable to more Californians.”

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