At the Tri-Valley Cities Council meeting Wednesday night, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich said all five cities -- Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and San Ramon -- once again put infrastructure at the top of their lists while stumping for the Valley at this year's U.S. Conference of Mayors in January.
Typically when local mayors talk about money for infrastructure, they mean federal support for improvements to interstates 580 and 680. As an example, Arnerich pointed to an accident Wednesday night on I-680 near Alcosta Boulevard that blocked northbound traffic past Pleasanton exits.
"That was one of the topics, how to get the capacity (of local freeways) to work better," he said.
The mayors also got a look at changes taking place inside the beltway.
"We're really fortunate this year that we got to go to the Department of Transportation," Arnerich said.
San Ramon may be in line for some federal money to build a bicycle overpass on the Iron Horse Trail at Bollinger Canyon Road.
"Overcrossings, those are expensive things. They're not high on the (funding) list," Arnerich told the crowd of about 30, largely officials from each of the five cities. "Doing the overpass does qualify for some grants because it directly connects with Pleasanton Bart."
San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson is a bicyclist and has seen first hand the need for that overcrossing. Finding a way to pay for it is among the city's priorities for the coming fiscal year, he said.
Clarskon said he thinks the Washington trip may have gotten the ball rolling with federal officials.
"I think that the people that we met didn't have the authority to pull the trigger, (but) they seemed to be very interested in it," he said.
Arnerich added that while the era of earmarks -- having a particular project given priority -- may be over, "It was clear to all the elected officials that earmarks are coming back. They're just going to have a different label."
Although the San Ramon overspass may seem like a city issue, Arnerich said what affects one city in the Tri-Valley affects them all.
"In Pleasanton, looking at a road there is important. Is it important to Danville? Yes, it is. There's a commonality."
Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne said agencies now control spending.
"They seem to be pretty impressed when you go as a region, they love regionalization in Washington," Thorne said. "I think we made some really good inroads into future funding for things like iGATE."
Arnerich also said that iGATE, the area's cooperative work with Sandia and Lawrence Livermore labs to move green technology into the private sector now has its first success.
The company is Cool Energy Solar, which was developed by a Sandia employee who left the lab to start his own company.
Cool Energy Solar uses inflatable vinyl to focus energy onto solar cells, which concentrates sunlight and can produce as much as 1,200 times the amount a solar cell alone can.
"This had worldwide applications," Arnerich said.