Push to improve SR 99 interchanges as businesses move in

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An industrial area in Southwest Fresno has become the perfect spot for companies to grow their business.

It has attracted local companies like Valley Wide Beverage and national companies like Amazon and Ulta Beauty.

They've clustered in an area bordered by Highway 99, Highway 41, North Ave and Central Ave.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand says easy access to the highways was a key selling point for moving distribution centers here.

"Roughly a thousand acres in that vicinity. What's important is that we build out that facility, particularly with e-commerce, is providing the capacity of the interchange between North and Central Avenues onto 99. Unfortunately, that's a long process. Probably the fast track in five years."

Transportation funds are needed for infrastructure to handle the added traffic. Water and sewer lines need upgrades.

The mayor says it will cost $80 million to improve both interchanges. The city hopes to tap into both state and federal funding.

"Going to Washington DC to lobby for funds is essential for us to move ahead and it's not just getting the infrastructure improvements here, it's tied in directly to employing thousands of people."

Mayor Brand said the Trump administration indicated cities and states should cover 80% of the projects with the federal government covering the remaining 20%.

Brand and other local leaders believe those figures should be reversed.
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