Editor, the Pacifica Tribune.
In your June 7, 1995 Opinion column, Senator Kopp explains his position regarding the Devil's Slide bypass repair. Mr. Kopp writes: "The Federal Highway Administrator stated explicitly on March 3, 1995 that the bypass alignment funds are not transferable to another alignment."
I have recently found and read this March 3rd, 1995 "funding" letter that Mr. Kopp cites and find that Mr. Kopp has only paraphrased from the letter, and in my opinion, Mr. Kopp alters the meaning of the message in the letter. A photocopy of the March 3rd letter is attached herewith, and a photocopy can be viewed on the Internet at "URL: http://www.montara.com/Montara/FHWAFunding.html.
In short, the March 3rd letter states that the funding is obligated for an approved "plans, specifications, & estimates" (PS&E) known as the Martini Creek Bypass project. The funds cannot be transferred to a different PS&E. Should the funded PS&E be canceled the funding would be lost.
The letter does not state that the funded PS&E cannot be revised, even including major revisions. Indeed, Caltrans is currently revising the Martini Creek Bypass PS&E, making major upgrades to the bridge structures, to conform with new seismic design information which has become available since 1986. Addenda are routinely issued by Caltrans to revise already issued PS&E's. It is safe to conclude that revisions by addenda do not risk the funding, or the current Caltrans seismic addenda would be risking the funding.
I do not understand how major revisions to the structures, to reflect current seismic design, would be fundamentally different from a noise impact mitigation alignment revision into a tunnel. In both cases, the revision would be made by addenda to reflect prudent design principles. The roots of project will continue to remain in the funded 1986 PS&E. The purpose of the project will remain unchanged. The northerly portion of the project will remain unchanged. Caltrans obviously believes that a seismic addenda revisions to a PS&E does not risk funding; why would an noise impact mitigation addenda revision be any different?
Caltrans states in their recently issued noise impact statement that revising the alignment of the southerly portion of the project into a tunnel, would be an excellent method of mitigating the sound impact.
The funding would be at risk only if the 1986 PS&E were canceled, but not if it is simply revised by addenda. Caltrans' current plan to revise the PS&E by seismic addenda is evidence of this fact. Mr. Kopp's characterization of the March 3, 1995 Federal Highway administration letter seems incomplete and is misleading. While it appears true that the funding would be at risk if the 1986 PS&E were canceled, it does not appear that revisions made by addenda to the 1986 Martini Creek Bypass PS&E would risk the funds.
Very truly your,
768 Alta Vista Drive