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San Benito County Transportation Digest

Electric Vehicle Drivers May Not Be Able to Ride Solo in Calif. Carpool Lanes Anymore


A program that allows solo drivers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to use carpool lanes on freeways and bridges in California may be removed for good next year.

Part of Highway 1 Near Big Sur Crumbles as New Landslide Closes More of Historic Roadway


Highway 1 is closed indefinitely from Palo Colorado Road to Rocky Creek Bridge, the California Department of Transportation said on social media after a new landslide eroded part of the roadway.

Garlic Shoppe and Rapazzini’s Doomed?


Planned Highway 101/25 interchange sound wall will cut off access to popular destination.

Waymo Approved to Start Robotaxi Service in Los Angeles and San Mateo Counties.


On March 1, the California Public Utilities Commission gave approval for driverless taxi company Waymo to expand service into Los Angeles and San Mateo counties.

Hollister Council Approves Traffic Study on San Benito Street


The Hollister City Council agreed to a traffic calming study to determine if four-way stops are needed along San Benito Street from Hawkins Street to Nash Road.

County Gets Going on Public Transit Improvements


Transportation Planner Douglas Kean says less than 1% of county residents use San Benito County’s public transit system and that transit operations need to be fundamentally restructured.

California EV Sales Are Falling. Is It Just Temporary, or a Threat to State Climate Goals?


California electric vehicle sales dropped significantly in the last half of 2023, raising questions about the state’s ability to phase out gas-powered cars.

Cargo Traffic Jumped at L.A. and Long Beach Ports in January


The San Pedro ports had a busy January as they rebounded from last year’s labor troubles and picked up cargo redirected because of Suez and Panama canal troubles.

Former Supervisor Bob Tiffany Appointed to California Transportation Commission


Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) appointed Bob Tiffany, a fourth-generation San Benito County resident and business owner, to the California Transportation Commission.

Californians Bought Record Numbers of Electric Cars as Industry Eyes Slowdown


Some automakers are reducing production of electric cars and Tesla sales have dropped. Can California sustain its record pace and meet the state mandate?

Controversial California Bill Would Physically Stop New Cars From Speeding


The proposed bill would require new California cars to have a speed limiter.

Electric Rail to Las Vegas Keeps Rolling with New Federal Funding Approved


A project to connect Los Angeles and Las Vegas via electric high speed rail could break ground in early 2024, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced.

Hwy 25 Curve Realignment Cost $14.2 Million


The Highway 25 curve alignment, located 32 miles south of Hollister, is on schedule to be completed in late spring, and the combined cost of the original, failed project and its restoration has come to $14.2 million.

A Guide to License Plates


The numbers and letters on your car can reveal more than you think.

State Trying to Use Generative AI to Reduce Traffic


Caltrans has set a Jan. 25 deadline for tech companies to show how generative artificial intelligence might reduce traffic congestion in the state. This follows an executive order that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in September related to this type of AI.

Snow Shortage Followed by Potential Whiteout in Sierras


Heavy snow is projected in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Previously, warmer storms had been bringing precipitation mainly to higher elevations in the Sierras.

Driverless Cars Can’t Be Ticketed in SF for Speeding or Running Red Lights


San Francisco police officers have been operating for more than a year with guidance from their chief that California’s vehicle code doesn’t provide authority for them to ticket driverless cars for infractions like speeding or running red lights. Officers are still encouraged to report relevant information about incidents.

Major Projects in 2024


BenitoLink looks ahead to construction projects in the county that are expected to begin or be completed in 2024.

Kern County Is Poised to Become Warehousing’s Next Frontier


Farmland is being rezoned for industrial use, and massive warehouses are being built on spec near communities like Buttonwillow and Shafter, so goods coming through the Southern California ports can be shipped quickly throughout the western United States.

Protesters Calling for Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Shut Down 110 Freeway


A group of protesters sat down with interlocked arms on the 110 Freeway near downtown LA on Dec. 13, halting southbound traffic for more than an hour. Multiple people were arrested according to the CHP.

Commute Times Highlight Income Divide


Higher-income workers are more likely to work from home, analysis of recent census data shows. Lower-income workers can face long and solitary commutes to get to work.

Rep. Lofgren Announces Funding for Safer Roads in Hollister


U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren announced Dec. 8 that the Department of Transportation will distribute $1,080,000 to the city of Hollister for a comprehensive roadway safety action plan.

High-Speed Rail Project Connecting SoCal to Las Vegas Wins Grant


Private company Brightline secured a $3 billion grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation toward a 218-mile high-speed rail line from Rancho Cucamonga to Las Vegas. The line would allow people to make the trip to Sin City in a little over two hours.

Oakland Might Have to Pay Developers Millions Over Coal Terminal


An Alameda County judge ruled on Nov. 22 that the city of Oakland thwarted a proposed coal export terminal. The judge will rule if the developer who sued is entitled to $159 million in damages or moving forward with the project.

DMV Shift Appears to Spur Drop in ‘No Party Preference’ Voter Sign-Ups


The California Department of Motor Vehicles changed its voter registration process in 2019 to put a party selection dropdown on the same page. Since then, the number of people registering as Republicans or Democrats has jumped close to 20 points.

Express Lanes Open on Interstate 405


The Orange County Transportation Authority announced that work has been completed for express lanes along 16 miles of Interstate 405. The lanes, which were part of a $2.16 billion improvement project, span from Costa Mesa to the Los Angeles County line.

Data Shows Four Cities in California Among Worst for Holiday Travel


A new study by Forbes shows that four cities in the Golden State—Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego and Sacramento—are among the 21 worst cities in the United States for holiday travel. Forbes looked at a variety of factors including car accidents, hotel prices and air travel.

Interstate 10 Is Reopening Much Sooner than Expected


Interstate 10 in Los Angeles will reopen Nov. 21, following a fire on Nov. 11. It had previously been feared the freeway would be closed much longer.

Agency Weighing Grant for Hwy 101 Wildlife Crossing Project


The Wildlife Conservation Board is scheduled to consider providing $5.6 million for a wildlife crossing near the San Benito-Monterey county line to address “one of the most significant and least permeable wildlife connectivity bottlenecks in California.”

Intergovernmental Committee Looking to Limit Access Points on Highway 156


The Intergovernmental Committee approved a letter asking Caltrans to prohibit left turns onto Highway 156 from Flint and Bixby roads and Lucy Brown Lane between 3-7 p.m.

Newsom’s Visit Underscores Electric Car Problem: China Holds Keys to Battery Industry


China modeled some of its climate programs on policies first adopted by California. Now, California depends on the world’s most populous country for essential materials in its electric vehicle ambitions.

Caltrans, COG Release Roundabout Navigation Videos


Caltrans is almost finished with a new turbo roundabout project just outside Hollister. Caltrans is releasing a “how-to” video on how to navigate this new feature—the first in the state.

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