Message from Executive Director Mike Luken

Executive Director Mike Luken

It was an exceptionally wet winter, and we appreciate the efforts of Caltrans District 3 and Placer County to keep our mountain roads plowed during and after the large winter snowstorms. While summer is close at hand, at the PCTPA we are looking much farther into the future.

Planning, designing and constructing transportation projects as well as securing funding takes years, so we start with identifying needs, both immediate and anticipated. If we don’t think many years into the future, we will be perpetually behind. Planning is vital, and we’re preparing to start a couple of projects to set the stage for addressing long-term needs.

One planning study is called a Congested Corridor Plan.

PCTPA is always positioning Placer County jurisdictions for the best chance at receiving state and federal funding. The California Transportation Commission offers a very competitive type of funding for projects through its Solutions for Congested Corridor Program. That starts with a regional Congested Corridor Plan, which will address roads with severe congestion like Interstate 80, train and bus lines, and even bicycle and pedestrian trails. The goal is to eliminate gaps in transportation on an entire corridor that people travel on every day. PCTPA will likely target this funding for Phase II of Capitol Corridor’s Third Track Train Service. This service could increase daily trains to Roseville to up to 20 trains per day or hourly service between Roseville, the Bay Area and San Jose. Unfortunately, this source of funding cannot help with congestion on Highway 65. A Congested Corridor Plan follows the logic that congestion doesn’t begin and end at city or county borders. For example, traffic congestion on Interstate 80 in Placer County doesn’t stop when a driver enters Sacramento County, and a commuter’s bus ride from, say, Auburn to Sacramento shouldn’t force a stop, delay or a bus change at the county line. The Congested Corridor Plan engages 14 public entities (cities, counties, transit districts and the like) to examine the Highway 65 and I-80 corridors from Placer County all the way down to J Street on Business 80 in Sacramento.

Our other long-term planning effort is a future emergency services response study. Traffic is an inconvenience for everybody, but when it comes to emergency services, it can be a matter of life or death if an ambulance is delayed reaching a patient or getting that patient to a hospital, or if a fire engine can’t get to a house fire. With the rapid growth of homes and jobs in the region, congestion is increasing rapidly and many more homes are expected in jurisdictions’ General Plans throughout the region. This emergency services response study can help us predict what congestion will look like in the future if improvements are and aren’t made. That study in turn will provide evidence to support applications for federal and state funding, and also can provide the community with a clear picture of whether new sources of local funding are necessary and justified. These studies will help us stay ahead of our region’s transportation needs.

Please let us hear from you as PCTPA staff and I continue to work hard to address our region’s transportation needs.