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Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost is urging Citrus Heights residents and other constituents to make their voice heard about a proposed $8.4 billion county transportation sales tax measure before a final vote takes place on May 14 that could send it to the November ballot.
The countywide measure, known as the new Measure A, will require two-thirds support of the 16-member Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) board in order to pass. The half-percent sales tax proposal seeks to generate a projected $8.4 billion over 40 years, with roughly 60% allocated towards roads and 40% to transit.
If passed and approved by voters in November, the tax would be in place until 2061. The new tax measure would be in addition to an existing half-percent transportation sales tax measure, also called Measure A, which was approved in 2004.
Frost has been a vocal critic of the proposed tax on her social media, email newsletters, and at board meetings. In a post on Facebook on Friday, she urged her constituents to follow suit: “Don’t just gripe about it on Facebook, this is your opportunity to be heard so don’t waste it!”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the May 14 board meeting will not be open to members of the public, but emailed public comments are being received, if sent to email@example.com.
Frost said although she advocates fixing roads, the tax would send “nearly 40% to public transit and would impose a tax increase during an global pandemic.” Frost urged constituents to send emails to the board clerk, with wording requesting that the email be read “out loud into the record” as a public comment.
Over the past two months, the city councils of the seven cities in Sacramento County have voted on whether to approve the transportation spending plan associated with the proposed tax. All councils and the board of supervisors voted in favor of the plan, with Citrus Heights being the city with the most narrow vote in favor.
In April, councilmembers Jeannie Bruins and Bret Daniels both voted against the spending plan, while Mayor Jeff Slowey, Vice Mayor Steve Miller and Councilwoman Porsche Middleton voted in favor of approving the $8.38 billion expenditure plan.
Miller, who sits on the STA board, voted against the plan in March before changing his mind and voting in favor of the plan last month when the city council was asked for an up-or-down vote, calling it “critical to our roads and to our transit district.”
Citing concern about economic hardships from the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Miller expressed optimism that funding from the tax measure could help “revive our economy with thousands of jobs.” He also expressed hope that the STA board would act to put the tax measure on hold during their final vote, “if this whole crisis continues to go south.”
Councilman Daniels posted on social media last month saying he wanted to “apologize for our city council voting to allow the residents of Sacramento County, the City of Sacramento, and every other city in Sacramento County to vote on whether or not you and I should pay higher taxes in Citrus Heights.”
Under the tax measure’s planned allocations, Citrus Heights would receive an estimated $193 million in direct allocations over the next four decades, according to a city staff report. The actual amount could vary since estimated revenue from the tax are based on assumptions, which did not take into consideration longer term impacts from the coronavirus, according the the STA’s executive director.
A significant amount of funding would be allocated to go towards “Fix It First” street maintenance and rehabilitation to bring residential streets up to a minimum acceptable rating. Funds would also go towards a number of complete streets projects in the city, including:
- Auburn Blvd Phase II (Rusch Park – I-80)
- Auburn Blvd Phase III (Sylvan Corners – Greenback Lane)
- Auburn Blvd Phase IV (Greenback Lane – Manzanita Avenue)
- Antelope Road (Auburn Blvd – Old Auburn Road)
- Dewey Drive (Greenback Lane – Connemara Circle)
- Fair Oaks Blvd (Oak Avenue – Madison Avenue)
- Greenback Lane (Sunrise Blvd – Fair Oaks Blvd)
- Oak Avenue (Sunrise Blvd – Wachtel Way)
- Old Auburn Road (Sylvan Corners – Roseville City Limit)
- Roseville Road (Butternut Drive – City Limit)
- San Juan Avenue (Madison Avenue – Sylvan Road)
- Sunrise Blvd (Sayonara Drive – North City Limit)
- Sylvan Road (San Juan Avenue – Sylvan Corners)
- Wachtel Way (Oak Avenue – Auburn Road)
- Van Maren Lane (Greenback Lane – Garden Gate Drive)
Other projects listed in the plan for Citrus Heights include improvements to the Antelope Road/I-80 interchange for congestion relief, ADA upgrades, and bicycle/pedestrian use. The plan also calls for a “BRT to Citrus Heights,” referring to a Bus Rapid Transit project, whichtypically involvesconverting an existing lane of traffic into a bus-only lane.
Only one comment was received by the council from the public regarding the transportation plan.
The upcoming May 14 meeting of the Sacramento Transportation Authority will be held at 1:30 p.m. The meeting can be viewed live at metro14live.saccounty.net. The agenda packet for the meeting can be viewed at www.sacta.org.
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