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Regional Projects


The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is responsible for implementation and/or oversight of regional projects funded by Measure D – Highway Corridor, Active Transportation/Trail Program, Rail Corridor, San Lorenzo Valley/Highway 9 Corridor, and the Highway 17 Wildlife Crossing, as well as the 5-year program of projects for Community Bridges-Lift Line.

View below to see specific projects planned for the next five years. Following consideration of public input, the RTC board updates the 5-year plans each year (with interim amendments to the RTC budget and 5-year plans made when needed at RTC meetings). Annual expenditure reports and audits are provided on the Oversight page.

The RTC approved updates to the 5-year plans for regional projects and long-term Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) at its November 2, 2023 meeting  (see staff report for more info). Updates made since November 2022, approved at RTC public meetings, can be found below and here.

Highway Corridors

Measure D will provide approximately $125,000,000 in funding to improve safety and traffic flow, fund car-free highway overcrossings, and other safety programs. On Highway 1, extending three mid-county on-ramps to create full merge lanes down to Aptos (State Park Drive) between exits would allow more time for motorists to merge and exit safely.

Measure D will provide an estimated $97,000,000 to leverage grants for auxiliary merge lanes between:

  • Soquel Drive and 41st Avenue
  • Bay Ave/Porter St and Park Avenue
  • Park Avenue and State Park Drive
  • State Park Drive and Rio Del Mar
  • Rio Del Mar and Freedom Blvd

Improving the traffic flow and safety of merging on Highway 1 would benefit:

  • Mid- and south-county commuters with commutes too long to bike or walk
  • Response times for medical, fire and law enforcement
  • Bus riders on cross-county routes
  • Neighborhoods which currently experience cut-through traffic during commute times

Measure D will also provide an estimated $7,000,000 for 2 new bicycle and pedestrian bridges over Highway 1

  • In Live Oak at Chanticleer Avenue
  • In Seacliff/Aptos at Mar Vista Drive

Other safety and system efficiency programs will receive an estimated $21,000,000, including:

  • Cruz 511 County traveler information service
  • Safe on 17: law enforcement, drainage, warning devices, tree trimming and other safety efforts on Highway 17
  • Freeway Service Patrol tow trucks helping disabled vehicles and removing debris from Highway 1 and Highway 17


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Coastal Trail

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail / Coastal Rail Trail will be a paved bicycle and pedestrian pathway being built within the 32-mile Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line corridor. The rail trail forms the spine of the 50-mile Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network.  Additional trail projects will connect the rail trail to key destinations and activity centers.

This level, car-free transportation alternative will provide kidscommuters and recreational bicyclists and walkers a safe and enjoyable way to travel.

17% of Measure D funds are being used towards the Coastal Rail Trail, including:

  • Construction of bicycle and pedestrian trail sections connecting Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, and Watsonville
  • New bike and pedestrian bridges
  • Adding lighting and security features
  • Keeping the trail safe and clean for active use
  • Storm and drainage management
  • Leveraging matching state and federal grants for full Coastal Rail Trail network completion

18 miles of the rail trail are currently under development, with the first sections in Santa Cruz and Watsonville opened in 2021.

Rail Corridor

After many years of due-diligence and negotiations, the SCCRTC purchased the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line in 2012 to expand transportation options and alternatives to driving, and plan for future mobility needs. Uses of this continuous transportation corridor could include:

  • Transit
  • Freight/goods movement
  • Excursion services
  • Bicycle/pedestrian path

8% of Measure D funding is designated for the Rail Corridor, including:

  • Preservation of rail corridor infrastructure, including maintenance and repairs
  • Analysis of future potential uses of the right-of-way, including transit and other transportation uses, through an open, transparent public process

The Unified Corridor Investment Study analyzes a range of transportation uses of the rail corridor including transit (rail or bus) and a bicycle/pedestrian trail. The Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis (TCAA) took a deeper look at rail transit options and the Electric Rail Transit and Trail study will include more detailed engineering and environmental analysis. See the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail/Coastal Rail Trail section for more the trail.

Highway 9 Corridor

$10 million from Measure D revenues are specifically designated for projects in the San Lorenzo Valley/Highway 9 corridor that will improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists; access to schools, businesses, and bus stops; traffic operations, pavement conditions, drainage and other important travel needs. Measure D funds will be used on:

  • Priorities identified by the community in the Highway 9/SLV Complete Streets Corridor Plan
  • Bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Felton, Ben Lomond, Brookdale and Boulder Creek
  • Analysis of traffic circulation, biking and walking facilities at the SLV Schools Complex in Felton

Highway 17 Wildlife Corridor

$5 million from Measure D revenues are specifically designated to construct a safe passage for wildlife to cross under Highway 17 near Laurel Curve. This project is jointly funded by Caltrans and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. The project is currently expected to start construction in February 2022.

Fact sheet on the Wildlife Crossing

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