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.”