How to avoid another Oroville Dam crisis: Don’t skimp on infrastructure

Construction on the new terminal for the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
Construction on the new terminal for the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. We hate to sound like a broken record, but if there’s one lesson to take away from the Oroville Dam crisis, it’s this: We can’t skimp on infrastructure.

With that in mind, we draw attention to some important business the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will take up Tuesday: adoption of an updated five-year capital improvement plan for county infrastructure and facilities.

It may not make for compelling reading, but if you want to learn more about where millions in tax dollars will be going, we recommend you take a look at http://bit.ly/2lcTlCZ.

The plan is ambitious; the report from county public works recommends allocating $276.2 million to 103 projects. The list includes a couple of big projects already underway — the women’s jail and the new airport terminal.

It also budgets for preventive maintenance, including more than $20 million allocated to road preservation — $10.7 million for asphalt overlays and $9.9 million for pavement treatment, and it includes several million for bridge replacements and flood control projects.

Amenities aren’t forgotten; there are funds proposed for trails, parks and playgrounds.

Taxes aren’t the sole source of funding. Fees — including public facilities fees and road fees levied on new development — grants and state funds are among other sources to be tapped.

Noteworthy items include:

▪  A new animal shelter, $14.8 million.

▪  Bob Jones Bike Trail improvements, including staging center at the Octagon Barn, $14.5 million.

▪  An emergency dispatch center for the Sheriff’s Office and County Fire, $13.4 million.

▪  Arroyo Grande Channel flood control improvements, $8.4 million.

▪  Construction of the Morro Bay-Cayucos segment of the California Coastal Trail, $5.6 million.

▪  Halcyon Road/Highway 1 intersection improvements in Oceano, $5 million.

▪  Improvements to Nipomo’s Tefft Street interchange, $2 million.

▪  Cayucos Veterans Memorial Lions Hall repairs, $1.3 million.

A word of caution: Be patient. Some high-interest items, such as the Bob Jones Trail project, won’t be funded until the end of the five-year cycle.

If you’d like to let the Board of Supervisors know what you think, review of the capital improvement plan is scheduled for the afternoon session that starts at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo.