PCTPA Blog

Tired of sitting in Highway 65 traffic?

We have some good news and some bad news for you. First the good news, PCTPA is nearing the completion of the final environmental document for the Highway 65 Widening Project.  This is an important step, because to complete such an extensive document requires a tremendous amount of technical analysis as well as design development.  Now the bad news, there is currently no funding available for final design or construction. So we can’t tell you when relief will be coming.

The Highway 65 Widening Project includes widening the highway and adding auxiliary lanes to relieve existing traffic congestion, improve safety and accommodate anticipated growth in the surrounding area.

“The final environmental document is the next step towards realizing the widening of Highway 65”, said Luke McNeel-Caird, PCTPA Project Manager.  “Beyond this phase, final design and construction are currently unfunded.  PCTPA is continuing to explore funding sources to construct this project. However, delivering a $60 million transportation project (the anticipated total project cost) without a significant local funding source will be a challenge.  We are exploring creative ways to phase the project and we are continuing to explore potential funding sources.”

One of those potential sources is the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority (SPRTA), which is a Joint Powers Authority comprised of the Cities of Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville and the County of Placer that was formed to fund regional transportation projects using traffic impact fees from new development.

Some of the projects funded through SPRTA fees include the Auburn-Folsom Road Widening and improvements on Sierra College Boulevard.  PCTPA also leveraged SPRTA fees to secure federal and state funding sources to complete the Lincoln Bypass, one of the largest transportation projects in the region’s history. Learn more about SPRTA here.

Unfortunately, SPRTA fees only bring in $2-3 million each year and are dependent on local development.  This is one of the many reasons PCTPA worked to develop the Transportation Investment Plan and put Measure M on the ballot in 2016 to fund local projects.  The measure received a strong majority (63.83%) of voter support, but it was not enough to get the required two-thirds majority vote, or 67% approval, to pass. To learn more about the Measure M results, visit: http://pctpa.net/blog/results-of-measure-m/

As mentioned in a previous blog the new State transportation funding bill (SB 1) is unlikely to be part of the solution.  Of the $52 billion of anticipated revenue over the next 10 years, less than 5% will go towards traffic congestion relief projects for the entire state. And much of those dollars will end up going to communities that have their own local transportation funding source.

“PCTPA is committed to exploring all funding opportunities as we realize this is one of the top traffic issues in the region,” said McNeel-Caird.

The draft environmental document is currently available for review and comment between May 12 and June 14, 2017.  Visit http://pctpa.net/projects/sr65widening/ to view the Notice of Intent and the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study.

Want to see how traffic will flow with the proposed improvements? Click here to watch a video simulation.

Let’s make bicycling better in Placer County!

Invest a few minutes and share your thoughts on ways to improve the cycling experience for everyone.  PCTPA and Placer County are hosting a “Virtual Community Workshop” until Thursday, June 22.

Join the discussion at www.pctpa.net/bikewayplan. Your input will help update the Placer County Regional Bikeway Plan.

Let other cyclists, family members, and friends know and encourage them to participate!

Placer County Regional Bikeway Plan Update

Did you know?  It has been 15 years since Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) developed the first Regional Bikeway Plan for Placer County.  This plan was a joint effort spearheaded by PCTPA, and members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee which included representatives from the cities of Rocklin, Roseville, Lincoln, Auburn, and Colfax, the town of Loomis and the County of Placer.  The Bikeway Plan allowed for the creation of a county-wide bikeway system connecting Placer communities across the region.  Having this plan in place allowed Placer County and the cities to seek state funding for bikeway projects.

Since the original Bikeway Plan’s launch, Placer County has experienced exponential population growth.  The number of bicyclists has grown accordingly; the number of residents commuting to work by bike has increased 39% since 2010.  Last year’s May is Bike Month (MIBM) had more than 1,200 Placer residents participate!  The increase in bicycle ridership includes those who use their bikes for recreation in addition to those who commute to work and school.  As the number of cyclists grows, so does the need for an updated bikeway system throughout the Placer region.

PCTPA is currently working with Placer County Public Works to update the 2002 Regional Bikeway Plan.  This plan will identify the gaps in our current bikeway system and recommend improvements specific to unincorporated Placer County communities and roadways.  The Regional Bikeway Plan will also address key regional connections between local cities and the County of Sacramento.

“The 2002 Regional Bikeway Plan is a solid starting point, but the Placer region has definitely changed over the past 15 years” said Aaron Hoyt, Associate Planner with PCTPA.  “The County and PCPTA are looking forward to working with the community to develop a comprehensive bikeway system.”

By completing the update this year, PCTPA will put Placer County in a better position to compete in next year’s 2018 round of state grant funding.  During that time, the County and cities can apply for grant funding from programs such as the Caltrans Active Transportation Program (ATP).  The plan is envisioned to identify a list or package of projects that could competitively compete in the ATP.

“As with all transportation projects PCTPA’s goal is to make sure our Region is perfectly positioned to compete for any and all available funding opportunities,” said Hoyt.  “A solid Regional Bikeway plan is an important first step to secure funding for improvements.”

As a part of the Regional Bikeway Plan Update, PCTPA will be reaching out to the community for your input – including residents, cycling clubs, cyclists, and non-cyclists alike who want to see improvements to bikeways in our County.  During the coming months, we will be asking for your thoughts on potential improvements such as new bikeway connections, safety improvements, and signage or other amenities that could be included in the plan update.

PCTPA obtained funding for the Regional Bikeway Plan Update from a combination of Caltrans Rural Planning Assistance and local transportation funds.  By completing this update, PCTPA will better position Placer County to seek grant funding for the bikeway projects that will fill the gaps in the Placer bicycle network.  We welcome you to be a part of the update – sign up for email updates here and stay tuned!

In Case You Missed It: SR 65 Widening Project Update

If you live in Roseville, Rocklin, or Lincoln, then you most likely have been stuck in traffic on Highway 65, a major north-south connector through the western part of the Placer region. Placer residents traveling to the Roseville Galleria or the restaurants and other shops along the corridor know all too well the bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions that typically come with enjoying a day or evening out at one of the many exciting destinations along Highway 65.

Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) is spearheading a multi-jurisdictional project team to improve the gridlock and maintain a safe travel experience on this heavily used highway. The State Route 65 Widening Project is a partnership with PCTPA, the cities of Roseville, Rocklin, and Lincoln, Placer County and Caltrans. It will add an additional travel lane in each direction between I-80 and Blue Oaks Boulevard. The project also includes operational traffic improvements north of Blue Oaks Boulevard to the City of Lincoln.

In addition to being a major corridor for shopping and entertainment, SR 65 is also identified as one of the three major regional job centers in SACOG’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the six-county region’s 20-year plan for transportation improvements based upon projections for growth in population, housing and jobs. Traffic congestion extends the commute time for employees and significantly delays goods movement.

“Employers and businesses want to be able to count on an efficient transportation network,” said Luke McNeelCaird, PCTPA Project Manager. “Widening SR 65 will not only help to improve the quality of life for Placer residents, but is critical in attracting and keeping jobs in our region.”

Caltrans, in cooperation with PCTPA, has prepared an Environmental Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the project. The draft IS/MND  is now available for public review, and the public has 30 days to review and comment on the findings in the document. PCTPA is hosting a public hearing to discuss the proposed project on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. at the Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 175 Fulweiler Avenue, Auburn, CA. Visit the project website to learn more and sign up for email updates.

“The journey to improved local highways is long and largely dependent on available funding, but PCTPA is continuing down the path to a wider Highway 65,” said McNeel-Caird. “The project’s environmental document signifies one more step in the direction to Keep Placer Moving.”

Guest Column: Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan

It’s stated so often that it’s almost cliché, but Placer residents enjoy a wonderful quality of life. For Roseville’s Mayor and PCTPA Board Member Susan Rohan, preserving and enhancing that special quality of life convinced her to run for City Council in 2010 and continues to be her main goal.

“One of the biggest threats to our region’s quality of life is our transportation network,” said Rohan. “From increasingly longer commutes and more traffic accidents to deteriorating air quality, traffic congestion negatively impacts our lives in so many different ways.”  Traffic congestion can also be a major deterrent for companies who consider moving to the Placer region.

“If these companies can’t get their goods moved efficiently and their employees are stuck in traffic, then they will likely choose somewhere else to locate their business,” said Rohan.  She cites the important work being done by PCTPA as a step in the right direction to developing transportation solutions.

“Whether they are engineering solutions for the I-80/SR 65 interchange or developing plans for better regional connections such as Placer Parkway or designing improvements to widen Highway 65, PCTPA staff is instrumental in helping us solve our transportation problems.”  To make these projects a reality, the region will need to create a reliable funding source. Rohan sees the failure of Measure M, the local sales tax initiative that could have provided local funding for transportation improvements, as an unfortunate step backwards to solving the region’s transportation funding issue. But she is not ready to give up. While SB-1, the recently approved $5 billion-a-year State transportation funding bill, will help deal with the backlog of pavement and pothole problems, it won’t do anything for our traffic congestion. Creating a local transportation funding source is necessary; especially, if the region wants to leverage available State funds.

“We have no choice but to keep working towards finding a solution to our traffic problems,” said Rohan. She is optimistic that by applying the lessons learned from all of the recent community discussions, community leaders will work together with the Placer community to find a local solution to this local problem.  “The Placer region has a history of successfully addressing challenges when we work together,” said Rohan.

Rohan cites the creation of the Highway 65 Joint Powers Authority as one such example of successful regional collaboration. The cities of Roseville and Rocklin, along with Placer County, formed this Authority to fund four interchanges on Highway 65. This eventually led Hewlett Packard, a major employer in the Placer region, to locate a campus on the Highway 65 corridor.

“Issues are resolved a little differently here in the Placer region,” observed Susan. “We have a fiercely independent streak. Instead of waiting for someone else to solve our problems, we fix them ourselves.”

State finally passes a long awaited transportation funding bill

The California Legislature just passed a new Transportation Funding Bill which will provide an estimated $5.2-billion-a-year to the State’s dilapidated highways, roads and bridges.  Revenues will come from the following sources:

  • 12-cent gasoline excise tax increase, effective November 2017
  • 20-cent diesel excise tax increase, effective November 2017
  • 4% percent diesel sales tax increase, effective November 2017
  • A “transportation improvement fee,” similar to the vehicle registration fee that owners already pay the DMV each year, which will be assessed at a rate that ranges from $25 to $175 per year based on each vehicle’s value, effective January 2018
  • $100/year zero emission vehicle fee, effective July 2020

Clearly, no one enjoys paying more taxes, but the fact is that the State’s transportation infrastructure has been severely underfunded for decades and the lack of funding shows in our deteriorating roads and highways.  On average, California drivers spend $17 billion every year in extra maintenance and car repair bills due to the state’s poorly maintained roads.  This comes out to about $762 per driver every year.

Revenues to fix potholes will nearly double for the cities and County in the Placer region and will make a big dent in the backlog of road maintenance all over the County.  Instead of the gas tax only paying for about 1/3 of the cost of keeping pavement in good condition, this influx of funds will raise that to about 2/3 of the money needed.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t solve our traffic congestion problems in South Placer which desperately needs relief.  Only $2.5 billion over the next 10 years – less than 5% –  will go towards congestion relief projects all around the State.   In addition, the small amount of funding for congestion relief projects requires local matching funds.  Unfortunately, because of the lack of matching money, it’s unlikely projects such as the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project and SR 65 Widening Project will see much, if any, State dollars.  Creating a local revenue source to relieve congestion and improve safety on our roads, highways and bridges is a problem we still need to solve on a local level, like virtually all the other urban and suburban counties in the State.  Without that local source we will remain stuck in traffic.

Learn more about the transportation funding bill here, and click here to sign up for updates from PCTPA.  

More jobs, more cars on the road

The North State Building Industry Association recently launched a “5kin5 Initiative,” a regional jobs campaign to bring 5,000 workers into the greater Sacramento region homebuilding industry over the next five years.  So how will these workers get to and from their new jobs?

At last Friday’s Roseville Chamber of Commerce Economic and Government Affairs Committee, Michael Strech, President of BIA, said they foresee meeting these transportation needs with a combination of both vehicles and public transit.

As the amount of workers relying on our local highways and streets increases, it is important that we prioritize repairing, maintaining, and increasing the capacity of these roadways to support our local economy.

Explained: Traffic on Baseline Road

Have you ever driven on Baseline Road west of Roseville?  If you have, you probably know all about the traffic congestion that takes place on this local road.

The area may be rural, but over the past decade approximately 10,000 new homes have been built in Roseville and 14,000 new homes have been built in the surrounding unincorporated County.  Now up to 20,000 cars travel on the 2-lane road each day.  As more homes are built, this number  is expected to grow to 40,000 cars per day.

So what will happen to traffic on Baseline Road? Placer County has a plan to widen the 2-lane road to 6-lanes, and make improvements to some nearby roads to help alleviate that traffic congestion.  However, these improvements can only be completed as money comes in from the new developments being built – and it’s going to take some time.  But these improvements are needed to get residents in the Placer region where they need to go.

Learn more about the Placer County project by watching the video below.

Capitol Corridor Third Track

For more than 25 years PCTPA has supported increasing access to the Placer region along the Capitol Corridor passenger rail line, which runs from Auburn through Sacramento to the Bay Area from the one round trip daily we currently have.  This latest effort, known as the Third Track Project, began in 2012 with PCTPA as one of the planning partners in a group that also included CCJPA and the City of Roseville. The group negotiated with the owner of the tracks, Union Pacific Railroad, to allow additional Capitol Corridor trains to travel from Placer County to Sacramento.  They also requested right of way on Union Pacific’s land so they could build the third track.  After a long negotiation period, CCJPA and Union Pacific Railroad came to an agreement that benefited everyone in 2016. “We’ve finally come up with a project that Union Pacific is interested in,” PCTPA Executive Director Celia McAdam said. “So it’s a win-win.”

When completed, Third Track project’s two phases will increase the number of options you have in train times from one to ten for the Sacramento to Roseville line.  Beginning with phase one by adding two daily trips to our present train schedule represents a good start.  An additional 300 – 400 passengers will be able to ride the Capitol Corridor daily from Roseville whether you are commuting to work in Sacramento or the Bay or you are just looking for a fun day out.  And because Capitol Corridor is one of CCJPA’s most popular rail service lines, increasing the number of trips to the Placer region will allow more people here to experience its great service. “It’s a long time coming,” said  McAdam. “We’re really excited that this has come together.”

“The Capitol Corridor is such a huge benefit to the region, reducing congestion on the roads and carbon emissions, and just making life easier for so many of our residents,” PCTPA Chair and CCJPA Boardmember Jim Holmes said.  Expanding Capitol Corridor rail service in Placer County will help reduce the amount of time you spend in traffic on I-80 and SR 65 as it becomes easier for commuters take the train instead of their cars to work in Sacramento.  Air quality will also improve with fewer cars on the road.  If you want to take the train from Placer County to Sacramento or the Bay Area, the Third Track Project will raise the number of rail round trips per day from Roseville from 1 to 3.

Funding this project has been a longstanding challenge, but it is finally moving forward.  In late summer last year, the State awarded the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) approximately $8.4 million in Cap-and-Trade funds to go toward the Third Track Project.  The CCJPA Board voted to shift the entire $51.97 million they had left of Prop 1A funds from other priorities to the Third Track Project, and persuade Caltrans to release $18.35 million of Prop 1B rail money to fully fund Third Track’s phase one.  Now that they are able to steam ahead with final design & construction, Placer residents will be able to enjoy the benefits of the completed project by 2020.

Construction will begin after final design and will include increasing the number of trains that can safely travel on the tracks and improving the Roseville Union Pacific Railroad Yard and Station Area.  “With plans for expanded service steadily moving forward, the future [of Placer County] looks even brighter,” said Holmes.

While phase one of the Third Track rail service expansion is moving forward with full funding, the other phase still remains in limbo.  Finding the necessary revenue to complete the Third Track project will pose a challenge, yet at PCTPA we continue to find ways to make road, transit, -and yes –rail projects a reality for the Placer community.

To learn more, visit www.sactoroseville3rdtrack.com

PCTPA Executive Director Celia McAdam Honored as an AAUW 2017 Woman of Distinction

Last night, the American Association of University Women/AAUW Roseville South Placer Branch honored PCTPA’s Executive Director Celia McAdam as one of the 2017 Women of Distinction.

Celia was recognized for her history of excellence in the field of transportation and transportation funding, leadership qualities, inspiration to others, and mentorship to young women in the community.

SR 65 Widening

As a major north-south route in the Placer region, Placer residents rely on State Route 65 to get to work, shopping, dining, and entertainment. At the start of every New Year, shopping centers such as the Roseville Galleria or the dozens of other shops and restaurants that surround State Route 65 hum with activity. Returning from holiday vacations, employers from Thunder Valley and the RC Willey Roseville Distribution Center rely on SR 65 to allow their employees to commute to work and to ship their goods in and out of the region. Students at William Jessup University and other schools in Roseville and Rocklin depend on SR 65 to help them get to class, too. If you live in a community located anywhere from Sun City Lincoln Hills down to Stanford Ranch Road, you likely drive SR 65 daily.

When you add long distance truck travel to the number of trips taken every day along SR 65, traffic becomes a growing challenge. “There are so many peak travel times on State Route 65 that you never know if you’re going to be stuck in traffic, regardless of the time of day or night – and it will only get worse,” said Celia McAdam, Executive Director of the PCTPA. We live in Placer County because of the great quality of life here, and that continues to attract new residents. However, our population is projected to increase 25% over the next 30 years, and that will make driving State Route 65 even more challenging if we can’t add additional lanes as soon as previously planned because of lack of funding.

The State Route 65 Widening Project includes plans to widen SR 65 from the I-80 interchange to Lincoln to relieve traffic in the Placer region. The environmental phase of the SR 65 Widening Project began in 2014. In July of that year PCTPA held an open house to notify the community that the project was entering its environmental phase and to hear residents’ input on the proposed highway improvements.

The environmental document assesses impacts of plans for widening State Route 65 to 8 lanes from the I-80 interchange to Blue Oaks Boulevard and then 6 lanes to Lincoln. This also includes auxiliary lanes between every interchange on SR 65 from Blue Oaks Boulevard to Lincoln Boulevard to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety as drivers enter and exit SR 65.

The cost estimate on the entire project is $105 million. While there is future funding available from developer impact fees, these fees only become available as developments are built, contributing to an irregular flow of funds. Measure M would have filled the funding gap for SR 65 Widening and allowed us to get started on solving this problem almost immediately. Now, without that revenue source, we will have to wait until development in the Placer region raises enough revenue through developers’ fees to fully fund the SR 65 Widening, which will likely take ten years or more.

Capitol Corridor Alert: Train 729 Temporary Service Change

Capitol Corridor Alert! This Saturday and Sunday, February 4th and 5th, Capitol Corridor Train 729 between Auburn and San Jose will not be able to stop and provide service at the Roseville Station train platform due to track maintenance work.

Click here to learn how passengers can be transported from Roseville to Sacramento to connect to the train on time.

Train 729 will operate on its regularly scheduled service to all other stations along the route, including Auburn and Rocklin.  Roseville is the only station that will be affected by the track maintenance work.

Results of Measure M

The decision to place Measure M on the ballot was not taken lightly. But even as we have maxed out the usual sources of transportation funding, like the gas tax and developer impact fees, it’s only a fraction of what we need to fix our highest priorities, like filling potholes and reducing congestion in the I-80 and SR 65 corridors. It truly was desperation to generate the funds that we need for our local transportation priorities to support our economy and our quality of life.

What about the gas tax? The gas tax revenue has dropped to a third of what it was 20 years ago. Cars today have improved gas mileage and there are many hybrid and all electric vehicles sharing the roads as well, which means drivers purchase fewer gallons of gas every year. What’s more, the purchasing power of funding that comes from gasoline sales taxes has fallen because of inflation. A dollar today does not buy what it did 20 years ago, and the revenue from gasol ine taxes set 20 years ago cannot keep up with the costs for road repairs today. By relying only on gasoline taxes, the County currently has less than half of the funds it needs to maintain Placer County’s roads, let alone make improvements.

Developer fees? The state constitution only allows developer impact fees to tackle projects that are needed because of new development, and we have tapped them to the maximum. Unfortunately, those funding sources can’t be used to pay for existing needs or road pavement repair and maintenance.

More recently, beginning in 2015, PCTPA held a series of six Town Hall Meetings and asked for the public’s input on our transportation and funding situation, and then in February 2016 conducted a series of telephone forums, all to hear from you about the major transportation challenges Placer residents face every day. PCTPA staff wrote the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan to tackle those challenges. PCTPA’S Board of Directors adopted the Plan, every City and Town Council approved it, and finally the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to place it as Measure M on the November ballot. We have looked at every option to fund our transportation needs, and Measure M was our big hope.

In November 2016, the Placer citizens voted on that ½ cent sales tax to fund the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan. Although it received a strong majority (63.83%) of voter support, it was still not enough as Measure M required a two-thirds majority vote, or 67% approval, to pass.

The Placer region is still facing the same challenges with increasing traffic congestion and deteriorating roads identified last year but without enough funding to fix them. And following the election, Placer County will continue to have a gap in transportation funding.

So what does this mean for our region? Certainly, we’ll do the best we can with what we have and continue to seek Federal or State funding opportunities that become available.

It is still too early to see if and how the Trump Administration will propose to address the nation’s infrastructure needs and the State continues to mull over how it will fund its growing transportation crisis. Unfortunately, even if both the Federal and State government find a way to increase funding, it’s likely that the money will go to those areas that can come up with matching funds. Because we don’t have our own “skin in the game”, it’s unlikely the Placer region will be able to attract much of those Federal and State funds.

As we have always done, PCTPA is working to leverage what little money we have and aggressively pursue State and Federal dollars for transportation projects to keep our county moving. But the reality is with the lack of adequate funding sources all of us may be experiencing increasing traffic congestion and worsening pavement conditions for years to come.

Freeway Service Patrol

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Did you know?  Minor car accidents cause almost half of all freeway congestion during peak commute hours.

PCTPA, the California Highway Patrol, and Caltrans provide a Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) program that helps reduce traffic congestion by patrolling our local freeways and looking for disabled vehicles and minor accidents.  The FSP can tow vehicles to nearby CHP designated safe zones and make quick repairs such as providing a gallon of fuel, changing a flat tire, or jump starting your car.  The FSP’s service not only helps reduce traffic when it is the worst, but also makes our freeways safer.

Learn more about the Freeway Service Patrol online here: http://pctpa.net/quick-links/freeway-service-patrol/

Placer’s Deteriorating Roads

Every two years the California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report provides information about California’s local streets and roads n
etwork.  The report uses the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) to grade pavements on a scale from 0 to 100.

A new road will have a PCI of 100, while a failed road will have a PCI of 25 or less and require complete reconstruction.  Pavements with scores between 50 and 70 are classified as “at-risk,” meaning the roads are not in good condition but they can be repaired with thin asphalt overlays.  Pavements that receive a score between 25 and 50 are in “poor” condition and cost much more to fix.

In 2008 Placer County received a score of 79, which was the highest among all California counties.  However, due to funding constraints we have not been able to pay for the small repairs needed to maintain our local streets and roads.  Today, the region’s score has dropped by more than 10 points.  This means that over the past eight years, our streets went from being in excellent condition to being at-risk and in need of repairs.  And that’s not all; Auburn’s pavement score went from 70 to 65 in the past two years alone!  The lowest pavement score in Placer belongs to the City of Colfax, and its score of 40 indicates that the city’s roads are in such poor condition they will require much more expensive treatment.  If the City of Colfax does not begin repairing its roads now, in the future they may be faced with streets that are beyond repair and require complete reconstruction.

Both San Joaquin and Orange County’s roads used to be in worse condition than Placer County’s.  Now, both counties have local funding sources that help them fix potholes and resurface their local streets.  As a result, both counties have seen improvements in their pavement scores since 2008.  San Joaquin County has caught up to and surpassed Placer’s score of 68, while Orange County’s score is now 79 – the same score Placer had eight years ago.

If we do not fund road maintenance projects throughout Placer County, our region’s roads will continue to deteriorate.  See how PCTPA is making road maintenance a priority for Placer’s future by visiting www.KeepPlacerMoving.com.

Placer’s Transportation Funding Needs

Did you know?  Over the next 30 years, Placer County needs to invest at least $3.5 billion in transportation projects to Keep Placer Moving.  Currently, we are only set to receive $1.4 billion during the next 30 years for transportation.  This money comes from:

  • Revenue from the gas tax
  • State and federal funds
  • Maximized development fees – to ensure new developments pay their fair share for the cost of new roads and freeways

Even after using every penny of these funds on transportation improvements in our region, we would still need $1.6 billion to deal with Placer’s congested highways, potholes, and bridges in need of repair.  So how can we get the funds to fix these problems?

PCTPA has put together the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan, a plan that addresses each of our region’s biggest transportation problems.  The plan is tied to a half-percent sales tax which would provide the $1.6 billion needed over the next 30 years to close the funding gap.  What’s more, having a local source of funding would also make us more competitive when applying for additional funds from the federal and state government.

The investment plan would fund projects such as the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvement Project and State Route 65 Widening Project, which would relieve traffic congestion and improve safety on our major highways.  The plan also dedicates funding to fixing potholes on our local streets, extending the Capitol Corridor rail line, expanding biking and walking trails throughout Placer County, and numerous other critical transportation needs.

Learn more about how we can keep Placer moving and keep you out of traffic for years to come at www.KeepPlacerMoving.com.

Meeting Placer County’s Transportation Challenge: Veronica Blake

How does road and highway traffic impact you?  See what Veronica Blake, CEO of the Placer Community Foundation, has to say about Placer County’s growing traffic problem and how it impacts businesses, emergency services, and you.

Veronica is a community leader who forms partnerships between Placer County community organizations and local residents.  She also serves on Placer County’s Economic Development Board and knows small businesses need free-flowing traffic on local roads and highways to transport their products and get their employees to work safely. Nobody likes sitting in traffic.  That is why PCTPA is working to improve local roads and major highways for both residents and businesses through projects such as the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project and the SR 65 Widening Project.

Visit www.keepplacermoving.com to learn more about PCTPA’s plan for the future of transportation in our region.

Transportation in Placer County – Jim Williams

How has Placer County faced challenges in transportation growth over the past twenty years?  Jim Williams, architect and former Placer County Supervisor, shares his knowledge about the changes in our region’s transportation demand.

As a former PCTPA Boardmember, Jim understands Placer County’s transportation needs are changing with a growing population.  PCTPA is working on important transportation projects such as the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project and State Route 65 Widening Project to improve life for Placer County residents and businesses, but additional infrastructure projects are needed to keep up with the region’s changing transportation demands.  While serving as Placer County Supervisor, Jim belonged to numerous commissions and committees critical to maintaining our region’s quality of life and healthy economy.  PCTPA’s continued efforts will ensure that Placer County’s transportation network will continue to support our high quality of life and vibrant economy for the next twenty years and beyond.

Visit www.keepplacermoving.com to learn about PCTPA’s plan for Placer County’s transportation future.

Transportation in Placer County – Gayle Garbolino-Mojica

How does Placer County’s transportation network impact our region’s schools, students, and parents?  We asked Gayle Garbolino-Mojica, Placer County Superintendent of Schools, for her insight.

In addition to serving her third term as Superintendent, Gayle currently sits on the Valley Vision Executive Board and is an active member of local community organizations including the Next Ed Executive Board, Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) Board, Keaton Raphael Memorial Board of Directors, and the American Leadership Forum’s Mountain Valley Chapter.  She has also served as the President of KidsFirst and the Treasurer of the California County Superintendents Educational Service Association (CCSESA).

Visit www.keepplacermoving.com to learn about PCTPA’s plan for Placer County’s transportation future.

Unmet Transit Needs in Placer County 2016

Is public transit meeting your needs?  PCTPA is looking for your input on the existing transit system in the Placer Region.

Join us at one of five public meetings to learn more about public transportation in your area and share your ideas:

Thursday, October 6th at 4:00 p.m.
Lincoln City Hall, First Floor Meeting Room
600 Sixth Street, Lincoln CA 95468

Tuesday, October 11th at 5:00 p.m.
Auburn City Hall, Conference Room 10
1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn CA 95603

Thursday, October 13th at 1:00 p.m.
Tahoe City Transit Center
West Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA 96145

Tuesday, October 18th at 6:00 p.m.
Roseville Council Chambers
311 Vernon Street, Roseville, CA 95678

If you are unable to attend in person, you can still provide your feedback!  Click here to take the online survey, or submit comments by email to Aaron Hoyt at ahoyt@pctpa.net.  You can also mail your comments to: 299 Nevada Street, Auburn, CA 95603.

Transportation in Placer County – Jodie Day

Does a strong transportation network mean more job opportunities for the Placer Region?

We asked Jodie Day, Board Chair of the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce, for her opinion.

Jodie Day has been a part of the Roseville-Rocklin business community for over ten years, working at Williams + Paddon as Business Development Manager and later as Northern California Regional Marketing Manager for Psomas.  Currently the Chair of the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Jodie collaborates with local officials to promote a healthy economic climate in the region.

Visit www.keepplacermoving.com to learn about PCTPA’s plan for Placer County’s transportation future.

Transportation in Placer County – Gray Allen

What makes Placer County a great place to live?  We asked Gray Allen, District 1 Director for the Placer County Water Agency, to weigh in.  Hear what Mr. Allen thinks about how transportation plays a critical role in Placer County’s quality of life.

A former member of the City of Roseville’s Planning Commission, Mr. Allen currently serves on the Citizen Advisory Board of the California Highway Patrol.  Over the years, he has contributed to Placer County’s youth, law enforcement, and residents through community organizations including the Roseville Crime Stoppers, Roseville PAL, Roseville Library Foundation, Regional Water Authority, and the Northern California Power Agency.

Visit www.keepplacermoving.com to learn about PCTPA’s plan for Placer County’s transportation future.

Alternative 2: I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project

The proposed I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project design will add the capacity to eliminate existing and future traffic backups, including a system to eliminate weaving movements on the I-80 eastbound approach and still keep the interchange at Taylor Road open, while still getting more than 150,000 vehicles (and growing) through this area daily, while meeting all the state and federal requirements for interstate highways.  It’s a comprehensive design and will require several phases to fully implement.

The video below shows how the approved alternative, known as Alternative 2 (Collector-Distributor System Ramps), will operate when fully completed under future year 2040 peak traffic conditions.  The video begins at the Eureka Road/Atlantic Street interchange and travels along eastbound I-80 towards SR 65, then continues on northbound SR 65 to the Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road interchange.

Visit www.8065interchange.org to learn more about the project.

I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project

The I-80 / SR 65 interchange was constructed back in the mid-1980’s.  Since then, the population of Placer County has grown exponentially.  Today the interchange is one of the most congested corridors in the region.

Watch the video to see how PCTPA plans to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety through the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements project.  More information about the project is available at www.8065interchange.org, and you can visit www.KeepPlacerMoving.com for information about other key projects that would #KeepPlacerMoving.

More passenger trains coming to Roseville in 2019

For more than 20 years, PCTPA has been working to extend more trains service along the Capitol Corridor rail lines. Through persistence and determination by officials in Placer County the state of California recently approved approximately $8.4 million in cap-and-trade funding to bring two new rail lines to Roseville in 2019. “It’s a long time coming,” said PCTPA Executive Director Celia McAdam. “We’re really excited that this has come together.”

Securing two new rail lines has been an arduous process due to the complexity of rail transportation. The Capitol Corridor has to contract with railroad companies that own the physical track.

“Our challenge is that Union Pacific owns the tracks,” said PCTPA Executive Director Celia McAdam. “You can’t do eminent domain; you have to work with Union Pacific to get the access.” After a long negotiation period, an agreement was made that benefited everyone.

“We’ve finally come up with a project that Union Pacific is interested in,” McAdam continued. “So it’s a win-win.”

The two new rail lines will have the ability to carry between 300 and 400 passengers. The rail lines will serve regional commuters, bay area commuters, UC students, and recreational users.

More information about the rail expansion is available here.  You can learn more about other critical transportation projects in Placer County at www.keepplacermoving.com.

Freeway Interchange Bottleneck Improvements

Rocklin Roundabout photo

Placer County is home to several inadequately designed freeway interchanges.  Outdated designs and increased traffic contribute to longer, more difficult trips throughout the region including Rocklin, Loomis, Colfax, and Lincoln. The Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan dedicates funding to improving these interchanges, which are expected to soon become major bottlenecks in our region.

For instance, an outdated design which features short turn pockets and on-ramps on the I-80 / Horseshoe Bar Road Interchange in Loomis create traffic and safety concerns during morning and evening commute times.  Meanwhile, along the Lincoln Bypass, the Highway 65 / Nelson Lane Intersection cannot accommodate the volume of traffic and needs to be upgraded to a full interchange.  Other key improvement areas include the I-80 / Rocklin Road Interchange in Rocklin and the I-80 / Highway 174 Interchange in Colfax.

To learn more about these interchange projects and the investment plan, visit www.keepplacermoving.com.

Traffic Congestion on the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange

Currently, one of the most congested interchanges in the Sacramento Region is the I-80 / Highway 65 interchange.  Every day the interchange is backed up for several hours in all directions, which also makes it a dangerous interchange in our region.

The Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan includes major improvements to reconfigure and expand this interchange.  Improvements include adding a third lane in each direction over the bridge section of the freeway and adding a merge lane to accommodate traffic from I-80 westbound merging onto Highway 65 north.  Additionally, a new collector/distributor road would separate exiting and merging traffic from through traffic on eastbound I-80 to help reduce the amount of conflicts between drivers as they approach the interchange.

Want to know what other projects could increase major highway capacity, relieve congestion, and improve safety for our region?  Learn more at www.KeepPlacerMoving.com,

Raise 80 Ribbon Cutting Celebration

Ribbon - Precut - Web

This morning, PCTPA joined Caltrans for the “Raise 80” Vertical Clearance Project ribbon cutting celebration.  The event took place in Loomis alongside the Horseshoe Bar Road overcrossing, one of the nine overcrossings in south Placer County now in compliance with new federal height requirements.

The Raise 80 project addressed new federal height requirements by lifting seven of the overcrossings and lowering the highway under the two remaining overcrossings.  Now, oversized trucks no longer have to detour onto local roadways past our neighborhoods and schools.

In addition, the project replaced bridge railings, poured new concrete sidewalks, repaved bridge roadways, and planted landscaping to reduce erosion.  These features all enhance the roads and freeways that the communities of Loomis, Rocklin, Penryn, Newcastle, Weimar, and Magra rely on.

Learn more about the project and how it is keeping Placer moving at www.Raise80.com.

Plan to fund transportation improvements placed on November ballot

Yesterday morning, the Placer County Board of Supervisors placed the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan on the November ballot.  If passed, the ballot measure would implement a half-percent countywide sales tax for 30 years and raise funds to be used specifically on transportation projects in the region.

“The vast majority of the money raised from this tax will go to fix state and federal highways,” said District 4 Supervisor Kirk Uhler, who sits on the Transportation Planning Agency Board.  “It has been over a decade since we have received any money from the state or feds for any improvements to their roadways in Placer County.”

Over the next three decades, PCTPA estimates $3.5 billion will be needed to fund priority transportation projects.  Existing funding mechanisms such as the gasoline tax, federal and state funding, and developer-paid traffic impact fees will only provide about $1.4 billion.  The proposed measure would raise about $1.6 billion to fill the transportation funding gap.

Read more about the Board of Supervisors placing the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan on the November ballot online here.  Learn about the plan at www.keepplacermoving.com.

Transportation Sales Tax One Step Closer to November Ballot Measure

Wednesday morning, the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) Board of Directors, acting as the Placer County Local Transportation Authority, unanimously adopted the Keep Placer Moving Transportation Investment Plan and made a formal request to the Placer County Board of Supervisors to place the measure on the November ballot.

This follows a unanimous support for the draft investment plan by the Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, and approval of every City and Town Council throughout May and June.

“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. A local source of funding would allow us to plan today for our community’s tomorrow,” said PCTPA Board Chair and Roseville Vice Mayor Susan Rohan. “The unanimous support from all the cities, town, and county for the investment plan underscores the need for a local solution to our transportation problems.”

The Transportation Investment Plan outlines funding for road repairs and improvements to major highways and would help relieve traffic congestion, particularly in the I-80 and SR 65 corridors. In addition, the plan improves transportation options by providing funding for safe routes to school, an expanded pedestrian and bicycle trail network, increased Capitol Corridor rail and commuter bus services, and enhanced dial a ride service for seniors and disabled residents.

The funding for the Transportation Investment Plan would come from a 0.5% countywide sales tax which would expire in 30 years and, once placed on the ballot, will require a 2/3 majority vote of Placer County voters to be enacted. The measure also requires all revenues be spent in accordance with the Investment Plan. “Nobody likes taxes,” noted PCTPA Boardmember and Auburn City Councilmember Keith Nesbitt. “But we need to maintain our roads and make transportation improvements to keep up the unique quality of life here in Placer County. And with important safeguards like an Independent Citizen Oversight Committee, and annual published audits, the public will know that the money is spent as promised.”

Learn more about the plan to Keep Placer Moving at www.keepplacermoving.com, and stay up to date with PCTPA by liking us on Facebook.

Planning for our Region’s Future

The June primary election may be over, but the November general election is right around the corner.  PCTPA, local leaders, and members of the business community are in the final push to qualify a sales-tax measure to fund much needed transportation projects in Placer County.

Over the next 30 years, our region’s population is expected to grow by 25%.  This means more business and development, but this also means more people will be on already congested highways and local roads.

PCTPA has a plan to reduce congestion, repair roads, improve transit, and improve bicycling and pedestrian connections – the problem is there is no money to pay for these.  PCTPA’s draft Keep Placer Moving Expenditure Plan would create a transportation funding source that is controlled locally and cannot be used outside of the region.

Read more about how PCTPA’s draft #KeepPlacerMoving Expenditure Plan will address much needed transportation projects and improvements in our region by clicking here and visiting www.keepplacermoving.com.

Visit Key Placer Destinations that #KeepPlacerMoving

For more than 20 years, PCTPA has leveraged existing and limited resources to obtain additional state and federal funds to improve Placer County’s regional transportation system.  Today, transportation funding is at an all-time low. The gas tax is a declining revenue stream, covering less than half of what is needed just to maintain our local streets. To improve the safety of our roads and continue to attract large employers to our region, we will need to invest at least $3 billion in critical transportation improvements over the next 30 years.

PCTPA has overseen more than $1.5 billion in transportation projects throughout Placer County, including the I-80 Bottleneck Widening and the SR 65 Lincoln Bypass. By reducing traffic congestion on major highways, maintaining local roadways, and providing alternate transportation programs, PCTPA keeps Placer Moving.

Take a tour of the key destinations and major planned transportation projects that Keep Placer Moving in the video below:

Learn about PCTPA’s draft Keep Placer Moving Expenditure Plan and let us know what you think at www.KeepPlacerMoving.com.

Deteriorating Roads Far from a Resolution

Did you know?  California currently has a $130-billion backlog in state and local road repairs, plus billions more in annual transportation budget deficits.  And while a special session was called last summer to focus legislators’ attention to the problem, it does not look like there are any plans in the state’s budget to start fixing our roads.

Placer County streets and bridges are deteriorating.  According to the 2014 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report, more than 50 bridges in the Placer region need to be replaced.  These deteriorating road conditions costs the average California motorist $762 every year in repairs.  If we do not come up with a local source of funding for transportation improvements, these costs will only increase and our roads will only get worse.

Read about why our roads won’t get fixed by the state any time soon by clicking here, and learn about our plan to #KeepPlacerMoving by visiting www.keepplacermoving.com.

PCTPA Executive Director Celia McAdam Inducted into Prestigious Planning College of Fellows

Celia McAdam, Executive Director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA), received the planning profession’s highest honor by being named to the prestigious American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows for her substantial achievements in urban planning.

Called “[one] of the most important transportation officials in Northern California” by the Sacramento Bee, Ms. McAdam has served as the Executive Director of PCTPA since 1998.  She has also served as the Executive Director of the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority (SPRTA) since its formation in 2001.  An expert in transportation funding, Ms. McAdam combines her extensive knowledge of transportation funding with creative ideas to develop innovative strategies that move projects forward.  Her ability to maneuver around bureaucratic and technical obstacles has led to the construction of nearly $2 billion of transportation projects, including the I-80 Bottleneck Widening and the SR 65 Lincoln Bypass.

“It’s an honor to be recognized with such a prestigious group of professionals who have made significant contributions to planning and creating better communities,” said Celia McAdam.  “I look forward to continuing to advance PCTPA’s mission to keep Placer moving by planning, funding, and building transportation infrastructure.”

Recently, Ms. McAdam’s commitment to transportation planning in the Placer region has included evaluating placing a transportation funding measure on the November ballot.  The Placer region will need to invest at least $3 billion in critical transportation improvements over the next 30 years.  These improvements include fixing traffic hot spots, filling potholes and resurfacing roads, and adding freeway, interchange, and road capacity throughout the County.  As a result of extensive community outreach, PCTPA developed a draft Keep Placer Moving Expenditure Plan to address needed transportation improvements in Placer County.

“Placer County needs to maintain and improve our transportation infrastructure to get people where they need to go and to maintain our quality of life,” said PCTPA Board Chair and Roseville Vice Mayor Susan Rohan.  “Celia’s ability to develop creative funding strategies has been instrumental in PCTPA’s success with delivering important key transportation projects on time and on budget, despite difficult bureaucratic processes.”

Fellowship is granted to members who have achieved and continue to exhibit excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research, public and community service, and leadership.  The Fellowship is one of the highest honors that the AICP bestows upon a member.  As outstanding professionals in the field of planning, AICP fellows address student organizations and professional development programs to mentor and advance the profession of planning.

“Individuals who make up the College of Fellows are the true leaders of the planning profession,” said AICP President Valerie Hubbard, FAICP.  “These individuals have made lasting contributions to the profession and have inspired generations of new planners.  They are truly awe-inspiring.”

TRAFFIC ALERT: Caltrans Highway 65 Paving Project Begins April 25

Date:              April 20, 2016  #16-103

District:         District 3 – Marysville, www.dot.ca.gov/dist3 – Amarjeet Benipal, District Director

Contact:        Dennis Keaton Email: dennis.keaton@dot.ca.gov

Phone:          (530) 741-5474 office, (916) 825-5252 cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Caltrans Highway 65 Paving Project Begins April 25

ROSEVILLE/LINCOLN –The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is alerting motorists about a paving project beginning on Monday, April 25 that will impact motorists along the Highway 65 corridor between Roseville and Lincoln.

The $7 million paving overlay project will take place during nighttime hours and will require the closure of one of the two lanes of the highway. Ramps connecting to and from Highway 65 will also be impacted during those hours. All lanes and ramps will be open during non-construction times.

Because paving work moves quickly, ramp closure signage has been placed at all ramps in the project boundaries notifying motorists of the following closure times for interchanges in the project area:

Highway 65 Northbound:  9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Highway 65 Southbound:  8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In order to accommodate motorists and residents, only one set of ramps will be closed at a time allowing motorists to travel to the next interchange, exit and cross over Highway 65 to access their exit from the opposite direction. Because of the rapid pace of paving operations, ramp closures and openings will occur throughout the project’s construction – from April 25 to August 24.

Weather or other unexpected events may prolong the work or cause construction activities to be rescheduled. Motorists are urged to be “Be Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.” Caltrans will issue updates on Twitter @D3PIO and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict 3.

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SR 65 Repaving

Have you ever been stuck in traffic on State Route 65 and noticed your ride was a bit bumpy?  It’s been a while since these roads have been repaired due to a lack of state funding available to properly maintain existing roads and highways.  But in just a few weeks you will see some work being done on SR 65 between I-80 and Lincoln Boulevard!  Recently, Caltrans awarded funding for a small portion of State Route 65 to be repaved.  The work will take about 3-4 weeks to complete.

But let’s be clear.  While PCTPA recognizes and appreciates Caltrans’ investment in repaving this portion of SR 65, it does not address the highway’s main problem: traffic congestion.  SR 65 is currently experiencing operational problems during peak morning and evening commute times, and average speeds and travel times on these roads will only get worse as growth increases in our region.  As more employers come to Placer County, more families will find themselves stuck in traffic if we do not plan ahead.

The repaving work by Caltrans is not redundant with PCTPA’s overall plans for SR 65, but it leaves much to be desired.  PCTPA’s SR 65 Widening Project proposes improvements to relieve congestion, improve operations, and enhance safety to the freeway from north of Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road to Lincoln Boulevard.  These improvements include widening the highway from 2 to 5 lanes in each direction with mixed-flow lanes and auxiliary lanes between interchanges to ease the flow of traffic.  Currently this project is not funded and PCTPA, the County of Placer and the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln are exploring strategies to fund this and other critical transportation projects.

You can learn more about the draft Comprehensive Transportation Plan PCTPA has developed at www.KeepPlacerMoving.com.  In the meantime, enjoy a smoother ride on SR 65 between I-80 and Lincoln!

Free Cycling Clinics

PCTPA and the City of Roseville have teamed up again to provide a series of free bicycling clinics!  Throughout the month of April, you can attend any of the five scheduled cycling clinics, which will focus on “Smart Cycling” or “Basic Bicycle Maintenance.”

The Smart Cycling clinic will teach you the rules of the road, how to bike safely, and how to plan a route.  The Basic Bicycle Maintenance clinic will cover how to fix a flat tire, which tools you should have with you, and show how bicycle maintenance can prevent a serious crash.

The five cycling clinics are currently scheduled for the following dates and times:

Smart Cycling: Wednesday, April 6
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Placer County Transportation Planning Agency
299 Nevada Street, Auburn

Smart Cycling: Thursday, April 7
Noon – 1:00 pm
City of Roseville Civic Center, Meeting rooms 1 and 2
311 Vernon Street, Roseville

Basic Bicycle Maintenance: Wednesday, April 13
6:30 – 7:30 pm
The Hub
953 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Suite 100, Roseville

Basic Bicycle Maintenance: Wednesday, April 20
6:00 – 7:00 pm
A-Town Bikes
943 Lincoln Way, Auburn

Basic Bicycle Maintenance: Wednesday, April 27
7:00 – 8:00 pm
Roseville Cyclery
404 Vernon Street, Roseville

Please RSVP!  You can send an email to saaron@pctpa.net or sschooley@roseville.ca.us,
or call (530) 823-4029 or (916) 774-5365 to reserve your spot.

Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road/SR 65 Northbound Ramps Public Review Period

The Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road/SR 65 Northbound Ramps project proposes local street and interchange improvements near Galleria Blvd. and Stanford Ranch Road to address congestion and safety issues in the area.

Starting today, the environmental documents for the project are available for public review and comment through Wednesday April 6.  The proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study, along with other project documents, are available online here.

Hard copies of the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study are available throughout the public review period on weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the following locations:

PCTPA
299 Nevada Street
Auburn, CA

Caltrans District 3
2379 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 150
Sacramento, CA

Additional copies of the environmental document are available at the following local libraries:

  • Marta Riley Library, 1501 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Roseville
  • Rocklin Library, 4890 Granite Drive, Rocklin
  • Placer County Library, 350 Nevada Street, Auburn

All comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, and should be mailed to:
Ken Lastufka
Caltrans District 3 South
2379 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 150
Sacramento, CA 95833

Comments may also be emailed to Ken Lastufka at: Ken_Lastufka@dot.ca.gov

A public hearing for this project will be held at the PCTPA Board Meeting on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.  The meeting will take place in the Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers, located at 175 Fulweiler Avenue in Auburn.

You can learn more about the project here.

PCTPA Year in Review

PCTPA was busy in 2015 – check out some of our biggest accomplishments from last year!

Broke ground on the SR 65 Whitney Ranch Interchange Project:  This project will connect Whitney Ranch Parkway with Highway 65 in Rocklin near William Jessup University, to open up developable land with the potential to add over 7,000 jobs to the local economy.

 

 

 

Secured funding for and completed construction of improvements to the I-80 Canyon Way Interchange:  The improved interchange now meets standards for freight trucks, supporting the City of Colfax’s largest employer, Crispin Hard Cider.  Transportation improvements support jobs and local employers!

 

 

 

Released draft environmental documents and moved the
I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvement Project closer to construction:  The I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvement Project will address the traffic congestion that causes backups on two major transportation conduits in Placer County.  Improved traffic flow in the area will decrease the number of congestion-related accidents, and decrease the amount of time drivers spend stuck in traffic.

 

 

 

Engaged with more than 600 Placer County residents and reached out to more than 75,000 community members about county-wide transportation investments:  PCTPA held a series of Town Hall meetings to talk with Placer County residents and receive feedback about our comprehensive draft transportation plan.

 

 

 

Promoted alternative modes of transportation, and helped Placer County residents pedal more than 230,070 miles:  PCTPA supported alternative modes of transportation through programs such as Spare the Air for Bucks and Bucks for Bikes.  During May is Bike Month, 4 Placer County cities placed in the top 6 in the region for average miles ridden per rider.

 

 

 

Launched the South Placer Bus Pass Subsidy Program to connect low-income residents with medical and assistance services using public transportation:  The two-year pilot program increases accessibility to local assistance programs and medical appointments to those in need.  Agencies eligible to provide bus passes are human services, social services, and non-profit agencies and organizations.

 

 

 


Click here to learn about how we plan to #KeepPlacerMoving.
 Thanks to the local business, organizations, agencies, and Placer County community members for all of your help in 2015!  Interested in what PCTPA has planned for the future?

I-80 Auxiliary Lanes Project

The I-80 Auxiliary Lanes project is proposing improvements to eastbound I-80 between SR 65 and Rocklin Road, and westbound I-80 between Douglas Boulevard and Riverside Avenue. The project would reduce congestion and improve safety on I-80 with the addition of auxiliary lanes and/or an additional lane of traffic.

PCTPA is hosting a community meeting on WeI 80 Aux Photodnesday, January 27 at 9:00am at the Placer County Community Development Resource Agency, located at 3091 County Center Drive in Auburn.  Community members are invited to drop in at their convenience to learn more about the project, ask questions, and provide feedback.

Caltrans and PCTPA have prepared a proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration and Initial Study for the project.  The project documents are available for review online here.  Additionally, hard copies are available on weekdays from 8:00am-5:00 pm between January 11 and February 11, 2016 at:

PCTPA
299 Nevada Street
Auburn, CA

Caltrans District 3
703 B Street
Marysville, CA

Rocklin Library
4890 Granite Drive
Rocklin, CA

Roseville Downtown Library
225 Taylor Street
Roseville, CA

You can submit, in writing, comments on the project documents to:
Angela Shepard
Caltrans District 3
703 B Street
Marysville, CA 95901

Comments must be received no later than Thursday, February 11, 2016.

Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road/SR 65 Northbound Ramps Project

DSC03579Earlier this week, PCTPA met with representatives from local neighborhoods, and property and business owners to discuss the Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road/SR 65 Northbound Ramps project.  This project proposes local street and interchange improvements near Galleria Boulevard and Stanford Ranch Road to address congestion and safety issues in the area.  Project features include widening both the northbound off and on-ramps, realigning the northbound loop off-ramp, and adding a second left turn lane.

PCTPA is currently beginning the environmental documentation phase of the project.  Following this, and dependent on project funding, we expect to begin construction in 2017. This project is the first phase of the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements project, which has been in the planning process for more than 5 years.  The I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements project aims to relieve the existing traffic chokepoint at SR 65 and I-80 to improve local traffic flow and regional  commutes.  To learn more about the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements project visit: 8065interchange.org

Learn more about how funding for crucial transportation infrastructure projects is a key to preserving our quality of life here in Placer County at www.keepplacermoving.com.

South Placer Bus Pass Subsidy

The South Placer Bus Pass Subsidy Program is a two-year pilot program offered by PCTPA, acting as the Western Placer Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (WPCTSA), to provide short term transportation to non-emergency medical care and general public assistance services for low income residents of Placer County.

“The South Placer Bus Pass Subsidy program is designed to help low-income residents with the cost of public transportation to medical or assistance services,” said David Melko, Senior Transportation Planner with PCTPA.  “Agencies eligible to provide the bus passes are human services, social services, and non-profit agencies and organizations.”  Eligible agencies can provide transit day passes for fixed route buses from Auburn Transit, Placer County Transit, and Roseville Transit to clients who participate in programs listed here.  Every month, agencies can receive a reimbursement of up to 75% for bus passes they purchased.  This helps offset the cost of travel for many Placer County residents, and also increases accessibility to local assistance programs and medical appointments.

All residents should be able to travel from Point A to Point B in a safe and convenient manner.  The new South Placer Bus Pass Subsidy program is helping to make this a reality in our region, one agency at a time.  You can learn more about the program here.

I-80 Canyon Way Interchange Improvements Project Ribbon Cutting

PCTPA celebrated the completion of the I-80 Canyon Way Interchange Improvements Project last week. The improved interchange supports Colfax’s largest employer Crispin Hard Cider and now meets standards for freight trucks. Watch the video below for highlights from the ribbon cutting event. Thanks to our project partners Caltrans District 3, the City of ColfaxCrispin Hard Cider and California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)#‎KeepingPlacerMoving‬

PCTPA Celebrates Completion of the I-80 Canyon Way Interchange Improvements Project

The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) and the City of Colfax will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to recognize the completion of the I-80 Canyon Way Interchange Improvements Project on Wednesday, December 9th at 2pm at Crispin Cider, 986 S Canyon Way in Colfax.

The I-80 Canyon Way interchange now meets federal and state operating standards for large freight trucks.  This upgrade was critical for businesses along Canyon Way, particularly Crispin Cider, the City of Colfax’s largest employer.  Crispin Cider delivery trucks travel the I-80 Canyon Way interchange, which is about a mile away from the brewery.  Before these upgrades were made, the trucks were being cited by the CHP for being too large for the interchange to handle.

“The project reconfigured the entrances and exits to the Canyon Way overpass, which now allows freight trucks to legally negotiate the turns,” said City of Colfax Mayor Kim Douglass.  “Before this improvement Crispin trucks were being cited for using the interchange, that’s a big problem for a growing business.”

Crispin Cider, founded as Fox Barrel Cider in 2004 by two Colfax natives, provides 44 jobs at its brewery in the heart of Colfax.  Since 2012, it has been owned by Chicago-based MillerCoors and continues to brew and bottle 4,247,000 gallons of cider in Colfax every year.

“Timely delivery is paramount for us to assure that we continue to provide quality cider from 100% pressed apple juice, and quality is always our top priority,” said Crispin Cider Production Services Manager Patricia Cummings.  “We are grateful for the quick response and support from local and state officials in helping us address this problem as it will allow us to continue to operate in the Placer region, where Crispin has enjoyed an extensive history.”

Preconstruction work for the project was funded by PCTPA in partnership with Caltrans.  Working with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), PCTPA worked to secure approximately $1 million of construction funding from the California Transportation Commission’s State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

“The usual sources of funds for projects such as this are over-programmed with more projects than there is money.  PCTPA worked with GO-Biz to develop a creative approach in order to expedite construction,” said PCTPA Executive Director Celia McAdam.  “This project is another example of how transportation infrastructure and economic development are inextricably linked. PCTPA is currently working to develop a dedicated local transportation funding source that would give us the tools to keep our economy growing.”

Keep Placer Moving Town Hall Meetings

PCTPA actively works towards developing innovative and resourceful funding strategies to help improve our roads, highways, and transportation system.  After almost two years of community outreach and thoughtful study, PCTPA has developed a comprehensive draft transportation plan to keep Placer Moving!

This November, we are hosting a series of Town Hall meetings to review the draft plan and gather community feedback.

So why do we need a transportation plan?  And why does it matter to you?

Over time, our freeways and roads have become increasingly more congested.  Sitting in traffic means you are unable to spend that time with your family.  Our aging streets and roads require more maintenance than ever, but transportation funds can’t keep up.

To protect our quality of life and keep our economy growing, Placer County needs a comprehensive transportation plan.

Join us at a Town Hall meeting near you to learn about PCTPA’s draft plan and tell us what you think.  Your opinion matters.

Monday, November 2 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Placer County Transportation Planning Agency
299 Nevada Street
Auburn, CA
RSVP on Facebook

Wednesday, November 4 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Colfax High School Gymnasium
24995 Ben Taylor Road
Colfax, CA
RSVP on Facebook

Thursday, November 5 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Del Oro High School Gymnasium
3301 Taylor Road
Loomis, CA
RSVP on Facebook

Monday, November 9 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Maidu Community Center
1550 Maidu Drive
Roseville, CA
RSVP on Facebook

Monday, November 16 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Rocklin Events Center
2650 Sunset Boulevard
Rocklin, CA
RSVP on Facebook

Wednesday, November 18 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall First Floor
600 6th Street
Lincoln, CA
RSVP on Facebook

RSVP’s are requested but not required; you can RSVP on Facebook, by emailing info@pctpa.net, or calling (530) 823-4030.

If you are not able to attend a Town Hall meeting near you, you can still learn about the draft plan and tell us what you think at: www.keepplacermoving.com

Smart Commute Month has arrived!

This October, consider leaving your car at home and using a smart commute to get to work or class.  Carpools and vanpools are great alternatives to driving alone, as are biking and walking.  By choosing to use a smart commute, you will help improve our region’s air quality and reduce traffic congestion, while saving money on gas and parking.

Want to use a smart commute but don’t know how to get started?  The Sacramento Region Commuter Club can help!  Their website offers a RideMatch tool that can set you up with a safe and convenient carpool or vanpool routine, and you can log commute miles in the trip diary to earn prizes every month.

Visit www.sacregioncommuterclub.org today and make a pledge to commute smart this month!

Placer County Walk to School Week

This week is Placer County Walk to School Week!

Walking or riding a bicycling to school promotes a healthy lifestyle for children of all ages.  This alternative to riding in a car provides regular physical activity for children to participate in, and it also helps reduce air pollutants in our communities.

In coordination with International Walk to School Day, PCTPA and local partners are hosting various walk to school events this week.  Look for PCTPA and the big happy “walking school bus” at the following locations:

Tuesday, October 6th at 8:30am
Rock Creek Elementary in Auburn
Meet at: Sutter Auburn Faith by Auburn Greens

Wednesday, October 7th at 7:35am
H. Clarke Powers Elementary in Loomis
Meet at: Sunrise Loomis Park at Arcadia

Thursday, October 8th at 7:30am
Skyridge Elementary in Auburn
Meet at: Maidu Office Complex at the Maidu and Shirland Track

Friday, October 9th at 7:30am
Newcastle Elementary in Newcastle
Meet at: Main Street parking lot in downtown Newcastle

You can learn more about Walk to School Week and the Way to Go program here.

Public Transportation Workshops

Here at PCTPA, we’re always working to keep Placer moving.  This October, we are looking for your input on the existing transit system in Placer County.

Every year, PCTPA works with transit providers and the public to identify any transit needs that are not currently being met.  Once identified, these unmet transit needs are compiled and analyzed, and the PCTPA Board of Directors determines which needs are reasonable to meet.  If an expressed need meets both criteria, it must be funded by Transportation Development Act funds in the next fiscal year.

So what are Transportation Development Act funds, and how do they work?  The primary funding source for most transit systems, TDA funds come from one-fourth percent (¼%, or 0.0025%) of the statewide sales tax.  The funds are only to be administered for transportation purposes, which includes street and road maintenance.  However, TDA funds must fund the reasonable to meet unmet transit need in the next fiscal year before they can be spent on anything else.

This process provides a forum for public input on transit issues, and helps transit providers set priorities for service improvements in the future.

Interested in learning more about how public transportation in Placer County works?  Want to share your thoughts and ideas on unmet transit needs in the region?  Attend one of our meetings this October!

Meeting Dates are as follows:

Thursday, October 1 at 1pm
Tahoe City Transit Center
We Lake Boulevard
Tahoe City, CA 96145

Wednesday, October 7 at 4pm – UPDATED TIME
Lincoln City Hall
600 Sixth Street
Lincoln, CA 95648

Thursday, October 8 at 6pm
Auburn City Hall
1225 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA 95603

Wednesday, October 28 at 9:15am
This is a public hearing.
Placer County Board of Supervisors
175 Fulweiler Avenue
Auburn, CA 95603

A Message from Executive Director Celia McAdam

This week I had the opportunity to visit Municipal Advisory Councils in both Squaw Valley and Granite Bay!

I presented updates on transportation in Placer County at both MAC meetings, and we discussed future transportation issues in the region.  I provided an overview of options for addressing these issues, which includes improvements to our infrastructure and potential funding sources.

Find out more about how PCTPA is helping to coordinate and fund key roadway projects in the area here.

Air Quality & You

Are you interested in staying informed about your region’s air quality? Sign up for Air Alert!

Maybe you or someone you know has asthma, or maybe you want to know what days being outside may be hazardous to your health. By signing up for Air Alert through the Spare the Air program, you will receive notifications via email with daily air quality forecasts for the Sacramento Region, which includes Placer County.

From May through October, this means the updates will be about ground-level ozone. From November to April, the forecasts will be about particulate matter. Air Alerts can help you decide if children should participate in outdoor sporting activities, and can help you check to see when wood burning is prohibited in Sacramento County. The more you know, the more you can stay healthy and help improve our air quality.

A Message from Executive Director Celia McAdam

Meadow Vista Municipal Advisory Council

This summer, I have had the pleasure of visiting with community groups and committees to discuss transportation in Placer County, and projects and programs that PCTPA is working on to keep Placer Moving!

I visited the Meadow Vista Municipal Advisory Council and the Weimar / Applegate / Colfax Municipal Advisory Council to discuss transportation in rural areas.  We discussed programs that PCTPA implements to provide transportation options, such as the My Rides Program.  The group also discussed projects PCTPA is currently working on to improve the regional transportation system, and the constraints of funding a large transportation improvement.

Weimar / Applegate / Colfax Municipal Advisory Council

Click here to learn more about key roadway projects that PCTPA is currently helping to coordinate and fund.

I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project Draft Environmental Impact Report / Environmental Assessment

PCTPA and Caltrans have prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA) for the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project, and it is now available for public review.

The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA), in collaboration with Caltrans, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the cities of Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville, and the County of Placer, are planning to improve the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange.  The objectives of the project are to reduce congestion and improve operations and safety in the project area, while maintaining access to local streets and businesses within the corridors.

What is an Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA)?

An EIR/EA is a mandatory document that examines the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project.  The document explains…

  • Why is this project being proposed?
  • What alternatives have been considered?
  • How could the existing environment be affected by this proposed project?
  • What are the potential impacts of this project’s alternatives?
  • What are the proposed avoidance, minimization, and/or mitigation measures?

The Draft EIR/EA for the I-80 / SR 65 Interchange Improvements Project is available for public review online at the project website.  Additionally, hard copies will be available on weekdays during normal business hours at both PCTPA and Caltrans offices, as well as several local libraries.  You can see the dates, times, and locations the document will be available at here: http://bit.ly/1gILjhO.

On Wednesday, August 26 at 9:15am, a public hearing will be held to obtain input on the proposed project’s environmental document.  The community is invited to attend the hearing, and provide comments about the Draft EIR/EA.  The public hearing will take place at the Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers, located at 175 Fulweiler Avenue in Auburn, CA.

If you are unable to attend the hearing, or would like to submit your comments about the project, you can email Ken Lastufka at Ken_Lasufka@dot.ca.gov or mail them to: Ken Lastufka – Caltrans District 3 South, 2379 Gateway Oaks Drive Suite 150, Sacramento CA 95833.  Comments must be received no later than 5:00pm on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

Questions?  Want more information about the project?  Call Caltrans’ Kendall Schinke at 916-274-0610 or PCTPA’s Luke McNeel-Caird at 530-823-4030.

May is Bike Month 2015 Results!

The results are in: Placer County residents pedaled 230,070 miles during May is Bike Month! 230,070 miles ridden on a bike is equivalent to over 9,700 gallons of gasoline saved, on average. Great job!

4 of our cities placed in the Top 6 for Average Miles Ridden per Rider, and Auburn placed 1st in the Average Miles Ridden per Capita category. Checkout Placer County Transportation Planning Agency – PCTPA‘s own Scott and Solvi at the Auburn Bike Festival.

To see more May is Bike Month 2015 stats, visit their website:www.mayisbikemonth.com

Learn more about the State Route 174 Safety Project

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be holding an open house to present information for a project that proposes to realign two curves, widen shoulders, add a left-turn lane at Greenhorn Access Rd. and improve the Clear Recover Zone (CRZ) on State Route (SR) 174 from post mile (PM) 3.0 to PM 3.9 in Nevada County, California.

The purpose of this project is to improve safety and operations for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians. This project proposes to help reduce the number and severity of collisions within this segment of SR 174. This project is scheduled to go to construction during the summer of 2018.

The open house will be held on May 7, 2015 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Peardale Fire Station #257, located at 15057 Colfax Hwy, near the Peardale Rd. intersection.

The open house will allow area residents, local officials,Caltrans staff and other interested persons to exchange information about the proposed project. The public will be able to view maps and plans of the proposed project and offer comments as part of this initial process. Your comments will be used to help develop project alternatives. The public is invited to drop by anytime during the open house.

Services for individuals with disabilities can be provided such as sign language interpreting, real-time captioning, note takers, reading or writing assistance. To obtain such services, please call or write prior to the event. Please contact: Deanna Shoopman, Public Information Officer, Caltrans District 3, 703 B Street, Marysville, CA 95901, (530) 741-4509 (TTY)

I-80 Auxiliary Lanes Project – Workshops!

PCTPA is working to reduce congestion and improve safety on Interstate 80!  Join us next week to learn about the I-80 Auxiliary Lanes Project and provide your feedback. The project proposes adding an auxiliary lanes or an additional through lane on I-80 in two locations: eastbound I-80 between SR 65 and Rocklin Road (location 1) and westbound I-80 between Douglas Boulevard and Riverside Avenue (location 2).

Workshops will be held on:

  • Monday, May 4th from 5:30 – 7:30pm at George Cirby Elementary School Multi-Purpose Room (814 Darling Way, Roseville) to discuss Location 2
  • Thursday, May 7th from 5:30-7:00pm at Rocklin City Hall Council Chambers, Second Floor (3970 Rocklin Road, Rocklin) to discuss Location 1

Click here for more info.

Transit Ambassador Program – New to transit? We can help.

Have you ever used public transportation in Placer County?

Public transportation is part of our comprehensive system of transportation options available for all our residents, and it can be a great way for people to get around. In turn, this takes some cars off the road, which helps those for whom public transportation doesn’t make sense.

Whether you’re running errands, going to school, or commuting to work, public transportation can get you where you want to go.  You can take public transit to a variety of schools, libraries, parks, offices, shopping centers, and medical building throughout Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville, Loomis, and Auburn. You can see all of the connections provided by South Placer County here.

Once you know where you’d like to go, it’s time to plan your travels. Transit systems can be tricky to get the hang of – especially if it is your first time using public transportation. Luckily, you can turn to a Transit Ambassador to answer all of your questions.

A Transit Ambassador is a volunteer who has been trained to explain the South Placer County transit system to passengers, regardless of their experience.  An Ambassador is required to attend classroom training, complete a practice bus ride with trained Ambassadors, and attend meetings every two months.  Ambassadors also volunteer at least 5-8 hours every month, gaining further experience answering questions and assisting passengers plan their travels.  This level of involvement requires an invested interest in and genuine dedication to providing quality support to you, the passenger.  An Ambassador will always be encouraging, patient, and attentive to our needs when giving direction – ask them a question today!

You can reach an Ambassador and get all the help you need by calling (916/530) 745-7560, or emailing transitambassador@roseville.ca.us.

You can also learn more about the Transit Ambassador program here.

NEWS RELEASE: Whitney Ranch Interchange Project Groundbreaking

Rocklin Groundbreaking Ceremony for State Route 65 – Whitney Ranch Interchange Project
New interchange to open economic opportunities for the City of Rocklin and the Placer region

The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) and the City of Rocklin will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the State Route 65 (SR 65) Whitney Ranch Interchange Project on Monday, April 13 at 10 am at the end of Whitney Ranch Parkway near Wildcat Boulevard in Rocklin.

The new interchange will connect Whitney Ranch Parkway with Highway 65 just north of the Sunset Boulevard interchange and south of the Twelve Bridges Drive interchange.  The Whitney Ranch interchange will provide access to the largest undeveloped piece of property in the City of Rocklin which is planned to include a mix of retail, office, and residential spaces.

“We are very excited about the start of construction of the Whitney Ranch interchange and the enhanced connections to the City of Rocklin,” said City of Rocklin Vice Mayor Greg Janda.  “This opens up approximately 355 acres of developable land and has the potential to add over 7,000 jobs to the local economy.”

The project will construct northbound SR 65 on and off ramps, an overpass, and southbound SR 65 on and off ramps connecting to Whitney Ranch Parkway.  The City of Rocklin is also constructing a new road, University Avenue, which will connect Whitney Ranch Parkway with Sunset Boulevard near William Jessup University.

-more-

The excitement about the Whitney Ranch interchange is not just for the major economic boost for Rocklin – it is also for the project’s role as the first step towards completion of a larger freeway connection planned for Placer County.  “The Whitney Ranch Interchange is one piece of the Placer Parkway, a future project which will connect Highway 65 with Highways 99 and 70 at Sankey Road near the Sacramento International Airport,” said Celia McAdam, Executive Director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency.  “With the current lack of state and federal funding for transportation infrastructure, the City of Rocklin and PCTPA collaborated to use the small amount of local funds we have to build one piece of the ultimate Placer Parkway project.”  The $10 million project is funded through a public private initiative between the City of Rocklin, local developers and PCTPA.

Contact:
Gladys Cornell
AIM Consulting
916-442-1168

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Read more about Monday’s groundbreaking in the Sacramento Business Journal HERE.

Lower Gas Prices – A Welcome Relief…With A Catch

You may remember a few weeks ago when the price of gas here in California dropped to the low $2.00 range, before spiking back up to over $3.00.  Gas prices are off their record highs from a year ago, which has been a welcome relief for our household budgets.  A good thing, right? Not necessarily.  Like so many programs here in California, how our gas tax works is very complicated.  So let’s talk about the gas tax reality and what it all means to us in Placer County.

In California, every time you fill your tank at the gas pump you pay 18 cents per gallon for the State fuel tax and 18.4 cents per gallon for the Federal fuel tax.  These “excise taxes” do not vary no matter what the price of gas is.  Based upon the basic tenets of supply and demand, you would think with lower gas prices we should see an increase in gas consumption and therefore an increase in fuel tax revenue.  However, this is not so.

In 2002, California voters passed Proposition 42, which amended the State Constitution and began requiring the sales tax on gas and diesel fuel to be used for transportation purposes.  These purposes include highway, street, and road maintenance, as well as transit improvements.  This proposition had implications on Proposition 98, which established a minimum annual funding guarantee for K-14 education, and became a problem when the State began experiencing budget deficits.  To address this issue, in 2011 the State passed a “gas tax swap” that reclassified the sales tax so it would not trigger additional budget contributions to schools.

Today, instead of paying a sales tax on gasoline, you pay an “equivalent tax” that is calculated based on the previous year’s average gasoline cost.  As gas prices started dropping significantly in 2014, the equivalent tax you paid was still based on what would have been the sales tax on higher 2013 prices.  As of January 1, 2015, this equivalent tax is now based on the lower gas prices of 2014, which reduced transportation revenues.

If you are confused, you are not alone.  Lower gas prices can both increase and reduce transportation revenues – unfortunately, based upon recent projections, the push is much greater on the reduction side.  What’s more, these decreased sales tax equivalent revenues are not going into repairing our roads or dealing with our current needs.  Instead, they are going to pay the debt service on transportation bonds, including some passed as long as 25 years ago.

Nothing is simple when it comes to how our gas tax works.  For now, we just hope you are enjoying the little bit of relief on your wallet!

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Plan & PCTPA

PCTPA and Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) are working cooperatively to plan for the future.

Last Wednesday, the PCTPA Board hosted an Elected Officials Workshop to support SACOG’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS), a plan that aims to outline what our region will look like in the next twenty years.

SACOG staff member Kacey Lizon shared an overview of the MTP/SCS and discussed with PCTPA how the MTP/SCS builds off of existing local plans. PCTPA Board Members were able to provide their input and discuss Placer County’s future regional needs. PCTPA and SACOG are working together to incorporate PCTPA’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) into the 2016 MTP/SCS and continue building safe and healthy communities.

To view the agenda from the meeting, click here and to learn more about the MTP/SCS, click here.

A Message from Executive Director Celia McAdam

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to speak with several local organizations in the Placer County region about the connection between transportation and our quality of life.

I spoke with the Executive Committee about the relationship between transportation improvements and economic development.  We also discussed the noticeably reduced traffic in downtown Lincoln since the opening of the Lincoln Bypass in 2012.  Did you know, the Lincoln Bypass is the longest stretch of newly built highway in California in a decade!

The Rocklin Kiwanis Club is a group of dedicated volunteers who serve their community through service and fundraising.  I had the pleasure of attending their monthly lunch meeting with PCTPA Board Chair and Rocklin Councilmember Diana Ruslin and PCTPA Boardmember and Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes.

I joined the Lions bright and early for a breakfast meeting.  We had an engaging discussion about the importance of improving transportation, and the difficulty of funding it.

Leadership Roseville is designed to educate and develop community leaders to tackle complex challenges.  We discussed the complex challenge of funding for transportation improvements, and recently completed transportation projects in Roseville, such as the I-80 Bottleneck.

I spoke with Lions from Auburn and Foresthill about long-term transportation needs in Placer County.

Last week, I spoke with the Kiwanis Club of Roseville to discuss improving transportation in Placer County, including the plans to fix the I-80 and SR 65, a hot spot for traffic congestion in Roseville.

PCTPA Executive Director Interviewed on Blue Values TV

PCTPA’s Executive Director, Celia McAdam, sat down with the Blue Values TV program to discuss PCTPA’s transportation plans and projects for Placer County and the financial realities of pursuing them. Take a peak at the interview below on YouTube.

Source: Blue Values TV

PCTPA Year In Review: 2014

 PCTPA accomplished a lot in 2014. Check out the Year In Review on our new PCTPA Blog page to learn more.

Placer bike program promotes healthy commute

If driving to work each day isn’t as exciting as it used to be for you, a county-wide bicycle buying program may hold the alternative you’ve been looking for.

The Bucks for Bikes program focuses on getting daily drivers out of their cars and onto the seat of a bicycle seat with the help of some cold, hard cash.

For more than a decade the publicly funded effort has offered an incentive to anyone who would rather travel by bike than by car and offers as much as $200 toward the cost of a new bike.

Scott Aaron, associate planner with the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, heads up the program and said its popularity has continued to grow throughout the years.

A successful application involves getting a quote from a Placer County-based bike shop, which Aaron said helps to promote local businesses.

Last year, PCPTA received 56 applications and funded 28 of them, eliminating approximately 1,060 vehicle miles traveled.

Read the full article here.

Gas prices low, but at what cost?

Motorists may be enjoying the low gas prices, but a sustained price drop at the pumps could wreak havoc on California’s struggling infrastructure.

For the state’s already dwindling transportation coffers, the shrinking prices are translating to trouble when it comes to keeping up with the growing demands of infrastructure maintenance.

Funded largely through gasoline tax revenues, the already low flow of cash to statewide maintenance and building projects could suffer even more.

If the U.S. Energy Information Administration predictions are correct, 2015 could see fuel prices settle consistently well below the $3 mark for most of the year – good news for consumers, but not so much for road projects.

Read the full article here.

Another View: Falling gas prices mask hidden tax

So why is it that while other states are now enjoying gas prices of less than $2 per gallon, California is still paying higher prices?

Due to high taxes and costly regulations, our state’s gas prices are higher than other states. It’s been that way for years.

But what’s new is that the gap between California’s and other states’ gas prices has grown.

To get a sense of the change, compare California gas prices with those of the nation as a whole. According to GasBuddy.com, even while overall prices have fallen, the gap has grown from about 32 cents per gallon just a month ago to as much as 47 cents this January.

That’s a 15 cent increase in just one month!

The likely culprit is a new “hidden gas tax” that took effect Jan. 1. 

Read the full article here.

Bus route to Auburn give new link to services

The journey from Downtown Auburn to social services near the airport can be dangerous on foot or bicycle, but a cooperative effort between the city and county will soon make it as simple as paying a bus fare.

In response to community requests for bus service, the city of Auburn and the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency are joining forces to supply a new bus route to locations near the Auburn Municipal Airport.

Beginning Jan. 5, Placer County transit buses will be providing hourly service to locations near businesses and social service organizations.

During Monday’s Auburn City Council meeting, council members approved the route modification and the costs associated with it.

Read the full article here.

What’s New? Click here to read the PCTPA Blog

Placer County Faces Bleak Transportation Funding Future

Dwindling state and federal funding sources are leaving many counties in a lurch when it comes to keeping up with their region transportation needs.

In Placer County, like many others in California, the demands of a growing population and ailing or outdated infrastructure weighs heavily on the pocketbook of the agency responsible for regional transportation.

The once well-funded state transportation agency, Caltrans, has fallen on hard financial times as federal and state cash streams continue to trickle in short of the need.

For Celia McAdam, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, the lack of capital draws a stark line in the sand for many of the projects in the region.

Read the full article here.

What’s New? Click here to read the PCTPA Blog

End of the Line? Funding Woes Stall Regions Big Transportation Plans.

With an economic recovery in full swing, transportation planners have several projects teed up to improve the flow of goods and people around the capital region.

One problem: How to pay for it.

From carpool lanes on Interstate 5, to the long-planned airport light-rail line to new throroughfares in Placer and El Dorado counties, projects are on drawing boards and working toward necessary approbals. but there’s real concern that they will stall for lack of funding.

Read the full article here.