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Impasse may halt 99 project
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The Whitmore Avenue/Highway 99 interchange project is 82 percent complete but work may stop if the state budget impasse continues, Caltrans officials warned last week.

State lawmakers and the governor are constitutionally mandated to pass a state budget by June 30 every year. They have failed to do so, once again. Caltrans officials sent out a memo last week detailing the affects of the state budget impasse on $9.5 billion worth of road projects under construction in the state.

The $17 million Ceres project is listed under a list of projects that "could be impacted if a prolonged budget impasse depletes cash balances to pay construction invoices."

The Ceres project is due to be finished up by November.

Caltrans cannot award over $900 million in new contracts to construction firms and payments to contractors on $9.5 billion of current construction may be delayed in the coming months due to the lack of cash, said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim.

Delayed passage of a state budget will drive up costs of projects, she said. In the budget impasse of 2008, payments for over 96,000 invoices was delayed resulting in more than $215,000 in penalties.

City Engineer Glenn Gebhardt said he was unable to comment on the latest news but expressed his frustration.

"It's not surprising," said Gebhardt. "If they can't pay the bills, the work is going to stop."