Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, other Sacramento County leaders and a group of construction workers on July 21 gathered in support of the $8.5 billion transportation initiative, Measure A.
This proposal, which calls for a half-cent, countywide sales tax increase, qualified for this November’s Sacramento County ballot last week.
If approved by 50% plus one of the county’s voters, Measure A would raise funding for more than 40 years for transportation and transit projects throughout the county.
A “Yes on Measure A” press release, dated July 20, notes that the initiative will “help create and sustain jobs, improve air quality with investments in transit, and improve pedestrian and road safety.”
The press release also mentions that Measure A funds would provide money for local road safety repairs, support local interchange improvements, and fund the expansion of transit and rail operations throughout the county. Thirty-nine percent of Measure A funding would be solely dedicated to transit and light rail projects.
Measure A was also designed to improve and enhance transportation infrastructure to accommodate population and employment growth.
About 60% of Measure A funding would be used for local street and road repairs, highways, bridges and overpasses, while about 40% of the funds would be used for public transit, paratransit services, light rail extensions, and expanding transportation services throughout the county, noted Michael Quigley, executive director of California Alliance for Jobs.
“(Measure A would) ultimately deliver thousands of transportation projects, big and small throughout the county,” he said.
According to a study released by Smart Growth America last week, the Sacramento area ranks 27th out of 101 U.S. metropolitan areas for poor pedestrian safety.
While surrounded by other Measure A supporters on an active construction site in Folsom, Singh-Allen touted Measure A as an initiative that would provide more jobs, better air quality, improved transportation with less traffic congestion, and street and road safety.
“These are pillars (that are) important for all local leaders,” she said. “But equally important is that Measure A dedicates funding to make our region’s transportation network safer and protects motorists by providing funding to repair and maintain our local streets, roads and bridges.”
As Sacramento County’s second largest city, behind the city of Sacramento, Elk Grove would receive about $420 million of the Measure A funding during the next 40 years, Singh-Allen noted.
“For my constituents in Elk Grove, (this initiative) will help reduce traffic congestion with our commute times, and I am so pleased that Measure A will provide funding to help bring it to closure, along with all of the other important projects that will be possible through the funding of Measure A,” she said.
“Elk Grove Boulevard, Laguna Boulevard, the traffic congestion are real problems that our community faces, and Measure A will go a long way towards addressing those concerns.”
Singh-Allen also expressed her interest in the $890 million in potential Measure A funding for transit and rail projects.
“Something very important for me is bringing light rail to our city, so that we can be better connected to the region,” she said. “Of course, what is also very important to my constituents is the Capital SouthEast Connector project that will better connect not only Elk Grove to other parts of our community, but it will significantly reduce commute times, which our residents deserve.”
She added that $80 million in Measure A funding would be dedicated to commuter rail services to expand the Amtrak San (Joaquin) and ACE passenger rail services to the greater Sacramento region and the new Elk Grove station.
“Elk Grove will be well positioned to be connected with our entire region,” she said. “I strongly support Measure A and encourage our residents in Elk Grove, but throughout the county, because a lot of these issues do not begin and end in our city zip codes.”
Also expressing his support for Measure A during the press conference was Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
“I support Measure A, because after months of discussion and negotiation, this measure, together with some of the agreements that have been reached, more than meets this test,” he said.
Steinberg stressed the importance of balancing economic development and transportation, “with the reality of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
“(Measure A) strikes the right balance to ensure that our county, as part of the broader six-county region, continues to hit the carbon reduction goals, the (Sacramento Area Council of Governments’) 19%, while also sustaining good-paying construction jobs; not just sustaining them, (but) growing them.”
Henry Li, general manager and CEO of the Sacramento Regional Transit District, told the Citizen that public transit funding that would be provided through Measure A would lead to more economic opportunities.
“With more public transit, that will lead to more economic opportunities and the more jobs and the more smart growth across the whole region,” he said. “(Through Measure A funding), Elk Grove will increase the local and commute bus services to downtown by maybe like 20%.
“And also, the light rail extension to the downtown of Elk Grove from the current (stop at Cosumnes River College) will be a top priority for us too, that will truly bring the light rail network from Elk Grove to the whole region. The light rail system is the backbone of the transportation system for the whole region.”