Wieckowski highlights Alameda Creek restoration, Sabercat Trail funding in state budget

June 28, 2019

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) highlighted several parts of the 2019-2020 state budget that was signed yesterday by Governor Gavin Newsom.

“With its record funding for education, large investments in child care, and expansion of health care and the Earned Income Tax Credit, this is a strong budget that helps both low- and middle-class families,” said Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation. “It pays down debt and expands our reserve accounts. It also better prepares us to prevent and fight wildfires and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Solving our housing crisis remains a top priority for California and this budget invests more than $2 billion into housing and will reward cities that our pro-actively helping us provide additional homes.”

The Legislature passed the budget on June 13 and after negotiating trailer bills with the legislative leadership, Newsom signed the budget yesterday afternoon.

“I applaud the Governor for working with the Legislature to craft a responsible budget that makes wise investments in several areas to help meet the everyday needs of working Californians,” Wieckowski said.  “I am also pleased that he remains committed to addressing our housing crisis, providing a mix of incentives, including on accessory dwelling units, and accountability to the issue.”

The budget also invests $31.4 million for Alameda Creek restoration work to restore wetlands and address sea level rise in the Bay Area.  An additional $5.7 million is included to plan and design a pedestrian bridge over I-680 to expand the Sabercat Creek Trail.

The Alameda Creek Active Channel project was an award-winning project in the Resilient by Design Challenge.  Alameda Creek is the largest local tributary that feeds the bay, but sediment remains stuck in the flood control channel, trapped behind dams, and is unable to make it to the Baylands where it is needed for marsh and mudflat accretion.  The Active Channel is a buildable project that redesigns 6.5 miles of the creek and channel to enable sediment flows and reconnect it to the Baylands, balancing the needs of people, fish, and sediment in the watershed.  Stakeholders include Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Alameda Creek Alliance, State Coastal Conservancy, SF Estuary Institute, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others.

“We are thrilled to see a continued commitment to protect and enhance essential habitat for the benefit of wildlife while ensuring that local communities enjoy the creek’s rich cultural and natural history,” said Juan Altamirano, associate director of policy for Audubon California.

The Sabercat Bridge and Trail will build a landmark bicycle and pedestrian gateway into the City of Fremont. The trail will cross the canyon of I-680 currently dividing the Irvington District, East Bay Greenway and planned Irvington Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Station from the Sabercat Historical Park, Ohlone College and Fremont hills.  Additionally, the project will create a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over I-680, providing a safe and convenient multi-use path forging a critical link in Fremont’s city-wide active transportation network, enhancing connectivity through the city.

“The Sabercat Trail runs through a former paleontological dig site, where thousands of fossil specimens have been collected, including saber-toothed cats, wolves and cave bears,” Wieckowski said.  “This will enable us to get the bridge shovel ready for construction.”

“This is fantastic,” said Hans Larsen, Fremont’s public works director. “We appreciate the state’s support to expand trails and allow more people to discover and enjoy the great history and scenic beauty California has to offer.”

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes parts of southern Alameda County and Santa Clara County.