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Construction project freeze likely to be felt locally

California’s top money managers elected to freeze nearly $4 billion in public building loans on December 17, which is expected to dramatically slow or halt construction on roads, schools and housing throughout the state, including North San Diego County.

The Pooled Money Investment Board voted unanimously to stop loans for about 2,000 projects statewide through June, stating the money is not available because of the legislature’s failure to close the significant budget gap.

The total value of projects that could potentially be affected statewide amount to more than $16 billion, as projects include highways, parks, schools, levees, hospitals, prisons, fire stations and more.

The effects are likely to be felt in the Fallbrook community, as not only are 10,600 local jobs going to be affected but roads and parks in this area may see a halt in progress as well.

Current projects that may be affected include implementation of coordination the four existing signals on South Mission Road and the San Luis Rey River Trail and Riparian Restoration project.

Coordinated timing between the lights on South Mission is valued at about $78,000 and initial steps for the process have already been taken. However, more money would be needed to finish the project, as completion is still six months to a year away.

The San Luis Rey River project, which has been approved and is waiting to commence, is currently valued at around $400,000 but will need more than $1 million more in the next six to 12 months.

If the funds for this project are frozen, it would be difficult to control flooding during heavy rain, as construction on the project would cease until funds are available again.

San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn doesn’t believe the San Luis Rey River project will be affected because he says it will be paid for by using a portion of a billion dollars given to the county as part of an incentive package and is part of a mitigation program to protect the area from flooding.

Horn believes pulling the funds from the project would be more costly in the long run but knows the decision is in “the state and SANDAG’s hands.”

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