Valley reacts after Gov. Newsom signs executive order that takes HWY 99 projects away


FRESNO, California (KGPE) –  Gov. Gavin Newsom claims signed an executive order which leverages billions in state transportation funds.

The order is not sitting well with Valley leaders because it directs money away from major projects on Highway 99, in Madera and Tulare counties.

“We are just outraged. We couldn’t believe it because this corridor is so important for our state,” says Madera County Supervisor Robert Poythress.

The county supervisor says he doesn’t understand the thinking of Caltrans when he saw its report released October first.

The report proposes the six-lane expansion project on Highway 99 through Madera will be dissolved, along with another project in Tulare County along Highway 99.

The projects are proposed to be deleted as part of Governor Newsom’s executive order to redirect transportation funds to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions.

Supervisor Poythress and others, part of the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council are now planning to attend the California Transportation Commission hearing in Modesto Tuesday of this week.

“We have each others back. We go from Kern County up to San Joaquin County. So if this effects Madera it affects all the other counties. So we are working together and they will definitely hear from us in Sacramento,” says Supervisor Poythress.

California Assemblyman Jim Patterson is also upset.

He says, “When you pay for gas and you pay a gas tax, a railroad is not a highway. This is bait and switch. They want to get a stamp of approval by November, so we are all having to rush and get to these meetings and say enough is enough.”

The California State Transportation Agency released a statement to CBS47, which read in part, “Aligning climate goals with transportation goals requires new thinking, not obstructionism.”

Supervisor Poythress says, “That tells me that our ideas are not welcomed. It is almost like a re-education camp that I hear about in other countries like a new way of thinking.”

CBS47 will continue to follow the story.

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