Capital SouthEast Connector a Perfect Fit for a Growing Region
No other local transportation project is more uniquely fit to address the needs of this growing region than the Capital SouthEast Connector (Connector), which will upgrade 34 miles of two-lane rural roads to a state-of-the-art four-lane expressway, complete with separated bike lanes for the entire length. I commend members of the Sacramento Transportation Authority (Authority) who recognize the significance of this project by ranking the Connector as the highest County priority for funding through the Local Partnership Program (LPP) created by Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The programs implemented through this legislation are critically important to California and it is vital that SB 1 funding sources are sustained so that needed projects like the Connector can be built.
The Authority ranking comes at a critical time for the project. The Connector’s governing board is seeking $20 million through the LPP to leverage available construction funding dollar for dollar with new state money. Success in obtaining a matching grant from the California Transportation Commission (CTC) would allow $40 million in needed roadway improvements to begin in Elk Grove, Folsom and Sacramento County, putting this important project on an accelerated path to completion. The designation by our local Authority should send a strong message to the CTC that the Connector is Sacramento County’s top transportation priority for funding through this program.
Based on my 43-year career in transportation, I know that projects like the Connector provide a necessary addition to our state’s mobility system. Here’s why: The Connector, which has overwhelming local support, closes a critical rural-to-urban connectivity gap. Secondly, it provides relief to two notoriously congested freeways – Highway 50 and State Route 99, arteries crucial to the efficient movement of people and goods in this region. Simultaneously, it will alleviate commuter traffic providing parallel capacity that will result in a reduction of 1,900 vehicle miles traveled each day on these overcrowded roadways. In addition, there is the economic benefit of 25,000 jobs that will come with construction of the facility.
What’s also important to acknowledge is that the overall economic growth associated with this project furthers implementation of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ Sustainable Communities Strategies by increasing employment in Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, and Folsom and improving the area’s overall jobs-housing balance in the process.
Sacramento transportation officials and community leaders recognize the important role the Connector plays in meeting the challenges of long-term growth and opportunity in our region. I am confident that statewide transportation leaders will take note of these benefits along with the Authority’s priority determination and make the right decision regarding funding for this essential project.
Will Kempton is a resident of Folsom in Sacramento County and spent more than four decades in the field of transportation. He previously served as Director of Caltrans under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority, Executive Director of the California Transportation Commission and finished his career in December of 2016 as Executive Director of Transportation California. He currently is working part-time as an economic development consultant for the Greater Folsom Partnership.
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Measure B is an investment
Measure B is vital to Sacramento's future
The most important Sacramento issue on November's ballot is one you may have overlooked
Are Sacramento voters willing to pay to repave roads, upgrade transit?
Sacramento city and county leaders are asking voters to pull out their pocketbooks to do something about it. Measure B on the Nov. 8 ballot proposes a half-cent sales tax surcharge that would raise an estimated $3.6 billion over 30 years to finance major fixes and upgrades throughout the county, starting with filling potholes and repaving rutted streets.
Backed by all seven cities in the county, as well as the county Board of Supervisors, the measure is being pitched as a way to take on more of the funding burden locally – and gain more control locally. The goal is to compensate for inconsistent funding from the state and federal governments, and years of gridlock over efforts to find a better revenue source than the faltering gas tax. Read More.
Measure B is vital to Sacramento’s future
But what about the toll on our economy? Everyone uses roads to conduct business, to move goods from manufacture to delivery, and to bring services to the customer. In the city of Sacramento alone, the cost of congestion amounted to more than $1.3 billion in 2014, including 60 million hours in travel delay and 26 million gallons of excess fuel consumed, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
Gridlock raises the cost of doing business. So do deteriorating roads and bridges, which force businesses to spend more on maintaining their fleets. Then there is the cost to companies of employees who miss work due to traffic and delayed transit service, and the time workers are forced to take off because their vehicles are being repaired or have broken down altogether.
Employees who miss work earn less, which has a ripple effect across the regional economy in reduced business activity and slower economic growth.
Measure B on the November ballot will enable the people of Sacramento County to overcome these obstacles to economic growth. Read More.
Bite the bullet for Measure B sales tax
Steinberg spending leftover money from mayor’s race to push transportation
He says he will loan $200,000 in leftover campaign funds to support Measure B, the November ballot measure that would raise the sales tax in Sacramento County by a half-cent for 30 years to fund road repairs and transit projects.
Steinberg’s all-in push with his money and clout has netted the Measure B campaign nearly $1 million in contribution commitments in the past week from a quickly built coalition of labor, business and civic groups, according to political consultant David Townsend, whom Steinberg asked to manage the campaign. Read More.
Fix our crumbling roads and bridges
“Indecision may or may not be my problem.”– Jimmy Buffett
With these two quotes framing this issue, we are imploring the California Legislature to fix the crumbling roads, bridges and highways we all rely on.
The Legislature’s “special session” on transportation is more than a year old. Action to deliver more revenue and ensure it will be wisely spent fixing our roads is long overdue. Any further indecision is, in fact, deciding to waste taxpayer money, put motorists at risk, drive more companies out of business and more jobs out of state.