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Orange County Digest

Local News in Brief : Countywide : State Money for County Highway Projects Rising

January 26, 1988

State money for Orange County highway projects has increased from a low of $5 million in 1985-86 to $120 million in the 1987-88 fiscal year, state and county officials said Monday.

The figures represent the annual allocations approved by the California Transportation Commission for each fiscal year in the revolving, five-year State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

Although just $5 million was allocated in 1985-86, $40 million was included for the county in the 1983-84 STIP, $17 million in the 1984-85 STIP and $61 million in 1986-87.

So far, $96 million has been set aside for the county's projects in the 1988-89 STIP, and $165 million in the 1989-90 STIP. Figures for 1990-91 and 1991-92 show drastic funding drops because the state commission has not yet completed spending plans for those fiscal years.

Donald Watson, interim director of the California Department of Transportation, reminded county transportation commissioners Monday that in 1985 he told them that the county had "bottomed out" on state funding and would see big increases in subsequent years.

On Monday, Watson also mentioned a major expansion of Caltrans' new county district office, with 60 staff positions to be added to 580 already planned. Those figures were previously revealed in Gov. George Deukmejian's proposed 1987-88 state budget.

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