Welcome to the spring edition of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA)newsletter. During these unprecedented times, we appreciate the opportunity to keep you informed about local transportation topics within our community.
That being said, this certainly has been an unusual Spring! I’d like to start by saying how much my team and I appreciate all of those who have been serving on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t begin to express how much we appreciate all of those who have been helping their communities by providing healthcare, groceries and other essential services. We also want to thank our teachers who have worked hard to help our children get through this period of self-isolation through remote instruction and encouragement. As we struggle through this quarantine, I am continually heartened to see and hear about so many acts of kindness demonstrated by our Placer County community. I am convinced, this is why we’ve chosen to live, work and play here.
It is also great to see that people haven’t lost their sense of humor. We try to read most of the community responses to our social media posts. I was struck by one comment recently from a social media follower who exclaimed that it only took a worldwide pandemic to fix Highway 65!
Yes, it’s true that traffic is much better now that most of us are sheltering in place, but we also know that eventually the curve will flatten. With the curve flattening and with an abundance of safety, people will return to work, kids will go back to school, and we all get back to the activities we love and enjoy. And, of course, we know that will mean more traffic. Social distancing, as reported recently by major metropolitan news organizations may mean a greater number of persons may opt to drive their personal automobiles, greatly increasing traffic congestion on our roads.
While economic activity has slowed dramatically for us and for many throughout the nation and world during this pandemic, we can anticipate, much like the past recession, that the Placer region’s economy will recover. As such, we need to begin removing any barriers that have hampered our local economy.
Highway 65 and Interstate 80 are our region’s two most important commercial corridors. Large, medium and small businesses locate within the corridors because they offer convenient access to their customers and employees. These corridors are also a primary conduit for moving goods within the region and outside of the region to other markets. With an estimated $4.7 million per hour in goods movement through our transportation system, we can’t ignore opportunities to improve our transportation infrastructure.
We’ve heard from business leaders that traffic congestion is a major impediment to their growth. In response to their concerns, we’ve developed plans and finalized designs to improve traffic flow within both corridors. We are poised to implement these construction projects. We also know that construction projects can provide a much needed boost to our economic recovery.
While we are hopeful that the Federal government implements a transportation funding package, we also know that any Federal monies will require local matching funds. Therefore, we must continue to work with our cities and county partners to find a sustainable local funding source.
Transportation may not be the top priority in your mind right now. And that’s okay, because it is for us at PCTPA. We are working non-stop to keep the roads and transit available and safe for our emergency response personnel, healthcare workers and others who are providing essential services. We are also working to make sure that the multi-use paved trails are available for all of us to get out and enjoy the spring weather. When the time comes, we will be here working hard to find ways to ease the traffic congestion, so everyone can get to work, shop and get to that Little League game!
-Mike Luken, Executive Director of PCTPA