The City of Temecula is pleased to announce that it was successful in its Federal Grant Application (INFRA “Infrastructure for Rebuilding America”) to the US Department of Transportation requesting $50 Million to close the gap on a total of $137 Million needed to complete Phase 2 of the French Valley Parkway project. Temecula is among a small group of INFRA Grant recipients across the country carefully selected to receive this highly competitive Federal Grant. According to a US Department of Transportation press conference today, approximately 200 eligible applications seeking a total of $9.8 Billion were submitted nationwide. With approximately $856 Million of available funding, 20 applications were awarded, including the City of Temecula.
Temecula Mayor Naggar stated, “On behalf of the City of Temecula, and truly Southern California, I would like to convey my sincere appreciation to Congressman Ken Calvert representing the 42nd District (CA) for his unwavering support and efforts in bringing traffic infrastructure solutions to Interstate 15.” Mayor Naggar added, “Mr. Calvert has been on this journey with the City of Temecula from the beginning. This nationwide competitive grant will significantly help address the daily congestion along Northbound I-15, and would not have been possible without Congressman Calvert’s focus, priority and attention, as well as the proactive efforts of my colleague, Temecula Council Member Matt Rahn, City Manager Aaron Adams, and the collective efforts of City staff, the region and local community. We express our thanks to all those who lent their support to this effort, from a grateful City.”
The French Valley Parkway project is backed by all Federal and State elected officials whose Districts cover the expansive project site including US Congressman Ken Calvert, US Congressman Duncan Hunter, Senator Jeff Stone, Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Supervisor Chuck Washington, in addition to US Senator Kamala Harris and US Senator Dianne Feinstein representing California. Over 25 different organizations, agencies and governments (federal, state, county, cities and tribes) submitted letters in support of Temecula’s Application as well as chambers and regional entities. Federally recognized Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and Pala Band of Mission Indians weighed in on the importance of the French Valley Parkway project, as did the US Department of Defense and US Customs and Border Protection.
Temecula Council Member Matt Rahn who formed the I-15 Regional Task Force with Mayor Mike Naggar in 2018, and traveled to Washington DC to advocate for the City’s INFRA Application three times, said, “We are very pleased that Secretary Elaine Chao and her top advisors at the US Department of Transportation understand the critical need for this project. I echo Mayor Naggar’s appreciation to Congressman Calvert and all of our elected representatives for their support.” Council Member Rahn added, “This is another huge step forward in fundamentally changing the daily commute and solving the traffic crisis in our region.”
The project is anticipated to be out to bid by the end of 2020, with construction to begin in 2021 that will last for two years. Temecula City Manager Aaron Adams stated, “The French Valley Parkway Phase 2 project will construct two northbound collector distributor lanes spanning over three miles along Interstate 15, and partially along Junction 215, with a flyover bridge to better distribute traffic at the confluence of the I‑15/215 Junction. These lanes will alleviate the chokepoint of congestion on Interstate 15 where weaving begins, causing daily traffic that backs up northbound travelers from that point into San Diego County; at times up to 20+ miles long.” Adams further clarified these are not toll lanes.
Interstate 15 is a major and essential corridor of freight, commerce and commuter traffic. A traffic survey conducted in 2018 by Western Riverside Council of Governments determined that 66-71% of the traffic on Interstate 15 is not attributable to the City of Temecula and that the majority of vehicles on Interstate 15 through Temecula do not originate, stop, or end in Temecula. Instead, drivers are traveling on Interstate 15 as the direct connection between areas south of Temecula, including San Diego County or Mexico, and areas north of Temecula including neighboring cities like Murrieta or Lake Elsinore or destinations farther including Nevada, Utah and beyond to Montana. Adams commented, “I am extremely proud of our City, its visionary Council, and staff for putting together this comprehensive and winning Grant Application package that will help solve a problem that currently impacts our City, the region, and hundreds of thousands of people daily.”