Utility poles and commercial truck on Green Island Road

A commercial truck drives past utility poles on Green Island Road, where the city of American Canyon is planning to place power and telecommunications lines underground as part of a larger widening project for the busy roadway.

Noel Brinkerhoff, Eagle

The American Canyon City Council has approved a million-dollar project to move utility lines underground on Green Island Road as part of a larger $11 million plan to rebuild the heavily trafficked, and worn out, roadway.

But the city doesn’t know if it will have all the funding needed for widening and repaving Green Island Road until property owners vote on creating an assessment district.

Some owners have indicated they won’t support paying for the project.

American Canyon is planning to widen the two-lane road by adding a middle turning lane so traffic doesn’t back up when trucks and cars exit. It also intends to strengthen and repave the cracked and pot-holed road so it will last decades.

Widening will require moving electrical and telecommunication lines situated on 27 utility poles. The Public Works Department wants to dig trenches that will house these lines, as well as other conduits for future utilities.

The cost of relocating 4,600 feet of overhead lines will be about $1 million. Right now the city has enough money from a special utility fund to pay for 800 feet of the work.

The remainder of the cost will be funded through impact fees, federal grants, and bonds. The latter would be repaid from assessments collected by a still to be formed Community Facilities District (CFD) consisting of Green Island Road property owners.

Public Works Director Jason Holley said he expects a vote asking the owners to create the CFD to take place next spring. Two-thirds must approve its creation.

Some owners say they have paid enough taxes already, and that the city shouldn’t look to them for help.

“You’re getting tax money for the last 20 years and haven’t done much in general except for some grinding and patching of the road,” said property owner Shawn Hacker.

“Let’s give the money back to Green Island Road,” Hacker said, referring to millions of tax dollars collected by the city. “You’ve already been paid.”

Holley admitted the city doesn’t have “leverage” to force the owners to form the assessment district.

If the owners balk at forming the district, “we’re not sure yet” how to pay for the project, Holley told the City Council on Sept. 5.

He said the city is counting on the property owners to pay “a large portion” of the cost.

“We’ll have to go back to the drawing board a little bit” and figure out the funding if two-thirds don’t vote “yes,” he said.

Of the $11 million needed for the entire Green Island Road project, the city has about $5 million covered through federal and local grants, traffic impact fees, and fees collected from utility ratepayers.

As for the remaining $6 million needed, “We are exploring other funding opportunities,” said Holley. They may include funding from SB 1, a state transportation funding measure adopted earlier this year in Sacramento.

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