This will be my last message as I am retiring as Executive Director of PCTPA on June 29.
As I look back on well over 20 years with the Agency, there is a lot to be proud of including the construction of the SR 65 Lincoln Bypass, the reconstruction of the I-80/Sierra College Boulevard and I-80/Douglas Boulevard Interchanges, expansion of transit options for senior and disabled residents, and the widening of the I-80 Bottleneck through Roseville. As a junior planner at PCTPA, I was at the first run of the Capitol Corridor rail service to Placer County in 1991. Just this past month, we kicked off the construction for the first phase of the Interstate 80/Highway 65 Interchange Improvement project, which will provide a third lane on northbound Highway 65 from Interstate 80 to Pleasant Grove Boulevard and improvements to the Galleria Boulevard/Stanford Ranch Road Interchange. I’m proud of the work we’ve done, but it’s time to hand over the reins.
I am happy to introduce you to PCTPA’s new Executive Director, Mike Luken.
A 25-year resident of Placer County, Mike comes to PCTPA from the Yolo County Transportation District (YCTD). At YCTD, Mike developed and proposed innovative approaches in addressing and funding transportation projects in Yolo County. In addition to his experience as the YCTD Deputy Director, he has also served in the transportation planning and economic development departments of the Cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento, Yolo County, and as the Director of the Port of West Sacramento.
Mike is ready to take the wealth of knowledge and experience he has developed over the past 20 years and put it to work in the Placer region. He intends to continue PCTPA’s mission of planning, designing and building a resilient transportation network for the Placer region. He knows there will be challenges ahead, not the least of which is finding the necessary funding to accomplish all the needed improvements. The widening of Highway 65, the remaining phases of I-80/Highway 65 interchange improvement project, the expansion of senior and disabled transit, and the Highway 49 improvements are just a few of the high priority projects that are not going to move forward without a new local revenue source.
There are lots of discussions at both the State and Federal level about the need to infuse money into infrastructure. Senate Bill 1, a gas tax package that passed in 2017, is primarily designated to fund basic road maintenance, but continues to be threatened. Ideas for a new Federal infrastructure bill are still being talked about, with no action yet. The one thing these proposals have in common is the very clear requirement for local areas to bring their own money to the table as matching funds, and Placer simply doesn’t have the resources to compete for our fair share.
Yet, through it all, PCTPA remains focused on projects and programs that connect all people through all modes of transportation. This includes an efficient roadway network, accessible public transit system, connected bikeways and trails, and safe sidewalks. As always, we make sure whatever money we do have counts.
It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as the PCTPA Executive Director these past two decades.