Transportation infrastructure | Lost Coast Outpost | Humboldt County

Sean Connelly asks Natalie Arroyo, Kim Bergel, Mike Newman

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Transportation infrastructure

Our roads are degraded and new potholes develop everyday. What ideas do you have to repair and improve our roads? How do we ensure the funds are used to improve our residential areas and not just commercial zones?

— Sean Connelly

Responses

Natalie Arroyo

Hello Sean,

My experience as a Eureka City Councilmember has definitely included a lot of focus on transportation infrastructure, and I look forward to applying these lessons learned in a larger geographic area. I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with County staff over many years on non-motorized transportation planning projects, so I can bring those ideas into the mix, too. 

We have a LOT of miles of road in a geographically remote, geologically active area that still experiences plenty of precipitation. This definitely wreaks havoc on our roadways. One of the first things I’ll do when exploring road needs is to look at the regional transportation planning priorities identified by the Humboldt County Association of Governments - our local transportation planning agency. I’ll also work with staff to understand the County’s pavement condition analysis so we can make decisions based on robust data. Usually, major streets are prioritized for road improvements, since these are traveled by so many people every day. However, neighborhoods are important too, for residents and for emergency vehicle access. I will look to all the transportation planning tools available to understand the needs and prioritize road work. 

I recognize that transit and non-motorized trails don’t serve everyone in the County and that roads are still very important. That said, I have a long history of working with the Humboldt Transit Authority, where I serve as the Board Chair, and working on trails and active transportation opportunities. Expanding these options is near and dear to me! I look forward to bringing this experience to the County, too. Trails and transit are great for people, our planet, and our health. 

Thanks for the question!

Sincerely, Natalie Arroyo 

Kim Bergel

In my time on the Eureka City Council we have struggled with funding for road repair. In November of 2020, the City of Eureka passed a 1,25% sales tax, Measure H, to fund public safety, road repair infrastructure repairs on our roads, and support vital services in the city. Since the implementation we have seen rather large increases in repair on our roads. In 2022 alone 15 streets are scheduled for repair. Over the next four years over 30 city streets are slated for repair.  

Declining gas taxes have negatively impacted funding for infrastructure.  Going after grants and getting creative with funding solutions will be necessary. Nobody wants a new tax, however an increase could be a part of the solution. 

Obviously we must look for grant opportunities.  And at some point we may have to make some tough choices and reallocate money from other programs, because roads are essential on so many levels.  I hope we can avoid that. 

Thanks for the question Sean! 

Sincerely, Kim Bergel