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Court: Centennial Corridor financing 'generally valid,' but can't use gas tax to pay debt

FILE -- Crews perform demolition work May 24, 2016, in Bakersfield, Calif., in advance of construction on the Centennial Corridor highway project. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

An appellate court in Fresno issued a split decision Monday on the controversial Centennial Corridor project, siding partly with each side.

The ruling will not put an end to the project, but it will complicate things for city planners who must now seek out alternate funding sources.

The West Park Home Owners Association and Friends have long attempted to block the highway that would connect Highway 58 with the Westside Parkway, on grounds that the city's plan to pay for it was unlawful.

The appellate court ruled that while the overall funding scheme for the project is valid, the city of Bakersfield cannot use gas tax revenues to pay back the loan required to build it. A lower court had previously allowed the use of gas tax revenue.

The corridor connecting the two highways will cost about $250 million. The city needs to come up with $190 million of that, but it does have some time to figure where it'll come from. Engineers say the next three years of work, including design, property acquisition, demolition and bridge work, is already paid for, mostly with federal dollars.


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