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  • Jessica Keefe

MEASURE M: Help for 80 at 65 could be on the way


The Placer County Board of Supervisors recently voted to place the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan, or Measure M, on the countywide ballot this November. Why is this important? Because the plan is said to improve area roadways and public transportation, as well as reduce existing and future traffic and congestion.

By implementing a half-cent sales tax increase for the duration of 30 years, funds incurred through the tax would fund major highway projects, improve and maintain street and road conditions, assist in the independence and mobility of seniors and people with disabilities, and improve safety for bicyclist and pedestrians.

The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) estimates priority transportation projects will cost nearly $3.5 billion over the next 30 years. Existing funding from the gas tax and minimal federal and state funding will provide only $1.4 billion. Generating approximately $1.6 billion over those same 30 years, the proposed tax is projected to fill the funding gap.

"Our road conditions are bad, and are getting worse every day. It's impacting our quality of life and our economy, and it's very clear that the state and federal governments are not coming to our rescue," PCTPA Board Chair and Roseville Vice Mayor Susan Rohan has stated.

"A local source of funding would allow us to plan today for our community's tomorrow. The unanimous support from all the cities, towns, and county for the investment plan underscores the need for a local solution to our transportation problems," she added.

According to the PCTPA, Placer County is one of the largest counties in California that does not receive local transportation funding. Additionally, developer fees are maxed out and existing problems on roadways cannot be repaired.

If you haven't already noticed, traffic is slowing and drive times are increasing. Currently, the daily average to drive from I-80 at Riverside Ave. to SR 65 at Blue Oaks Blvd. is 9 minutes. PCTPA estimates this same commute to take 35 minutes just seven years from now.

"Transportation is key to our economic vitality and quality of life," commented Celia McAdam, PCTPA executive director. "Businesses want to locate where their customers, employees, and suppliers can get to them easily, and where they can get their goods to market. Traffic congestion makes businesses less efficient, which is why transportation is one of the key factors in business location and expansion decisions."

Adding to the problem are the 70,000 new homes and more than 180,000 new residents expected to join the local population over the next 30 years.

"To maintain our edge as perhaps one of the most desirable places to live and do business in all of Northern California," said Dave Butler, Rocklin vice mayor and chair of the Placer County Economic Development Board. "We in Placer County have an obligation to ensure that we continue to invest in critical transportation priorities that facilitate the movement of goods and enable commutes for our residents and local employees."

Nearly half of the funding from the expenditure plan is to be spent on highway projects such as the I-80/Highway 65 interchange, Baseline Road widening and Highway 49 operations and safety improvements, while 30 percent will go towards local street maintenance and improvements. Funds have also been allocated for transit expansion, including dial-a-ride services for seniors and people with disabilities, along with Tahoe projects, bicycle and pedestrian improvements and future funding needs. Roughly one percent of funding will go towards the administration of PCTPA.

If approved, an independent citizen oversight committee would conduct annual audits and supply published expenditure reports to confirm compliance of the Transportation Investment Plan.

According to a source from the PCTPA, polling completed in February indicates that 73 percent of Rocklin residents support the sales tax. For more information on the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan and to view the full draft expenditure visit KeepPlacerMoving.com.


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