Supervisor Hank Weston asks state panel for funding for Bridgeport Covered Bridge, solar project at Malakoff Diggins |

Supervisor Hank Weston asks state panel for funding for Bridgeport Covered Bridge, solar project at Malakoff Diggins

The Bridgeport Historic Covered Bridge stabilization is done as cables have been strung on four points on the bridge to the shore and the beam supports added on each end of the bridge in this 2015 archive photo.
John Hart/ | The Union

Supervisor Hank Weston returned to Sacramento Wednesday in an attempt to get state funding for two local projects, this time speaking with members of an Assembly subcommittee.

The budget subcommittee on resources and transportation made no decision on funding $2.6 million for the Bridgeport Covered Bridge or $340,000 for a solar panel project at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park.

Staff will made recommendations on funding the projects based on “demonstrated need” and the subcommittee will make its decision late next month. The projects, if funded, would still have to receive approval from the full Assembly and state Senate before reaching the governor’s desk.

“The Bridgeport Covered Bridge is an iconic historical landmark,” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom, chairman of the subcommittee, in a statement. “As the longest-span wooden bridge in the United States, it has not only state, but also national significance. My colleagues and I have been active in supporting the restoration and protection of this important landmark and it is imperative that we continue doing so.”

Weston, who spoke to Capitol staff earlier this month, told the committee on Wednesday he wants the bridge funds set aside now. He argued it won’t take the expected two years to complete necessary environmental studies. The bridge rehabilitation could begin in September 2017.

“Consider that this thing can go faster,” Weston said, arguing construction can begin before the anticipated September 2018 start state. “It will not take two-and-a-half years.”

According to Weston, the restoration of the bridge would bring more people, and revenue, to the Nevada County state park.

Funding a solar project at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park also would help draw more campers. The $340,000 for the project, $110,000 less than first estimated, would forego the need to connect to the PG&E grid, an expected cost of $2 million, Weston said.

A diesel generator currently powers the park. Solar would provide a steady source of electricity that’s needed to boost tourism and protect thousands of artifacts Weston said are at the site.

“We need to protect our investment,” he added. “It’s a shovel-ready project.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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