US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

Project Name: Hollister Bypass
C03 Project ID: 44
Project type: Bypass
State: CA
Topic Supports: PRO 1: Approve Revenue Sources; Stakeholder Collaboration Application

The Hollister Bypass was included as a priority project in the 1988 regional transportation plan of the San Benito County Council of Governments to divert inter-regional traffic from the downtown area. Because there were higher priorities for the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), the California Transportation Commission (CTC) decided to include the Hollister project in the STIP only if the county could generate local funding for it. A committee comprising citizens and businesses pushed to have the project constructed, lobbied the state government, and communicated extensively with county residents to encourage them to vote for a sales tax to help fund the project. The CTC agreed that if the sales tax passed, the STIP would match the funding to build the bypass.

With significant initiative from local citizens and additional support from Caltrans, a San Benito County sales tax measure to fund transportation improvements (Measure A) passed by a huge margin (83%). This tax included funding for the Hollister Bypass. Hollister was the first rural county to pass such a sales tax, and the bypass was first on the list of priorities to be funded by it. The forecasted cost of the bypass was $12.5 million dollars. The county raised a significant $6.25 million for the project, which was supplemented by Caltrans funding. Based on the success of Measure A, the city and County are now working in partnership to build another bypass (Highway 25 project) that also uses funds from the sales tax in combination with STIP funds and development impact fees.

The partnership between the state government and the citizens to pass the sales tax measure was essential to the completion of this project. The Hollister Bypass was constructed in 1997 along SR 156.